by Jacqui Fatka, Feedstuffs
The budget bill passed last month contained $3 billion in cuts to the crop insurance program, with promises to fix the cut in passage later this year. Tuesday the negotiated text of the long-term highway bill included language to restore the crop insurance cuts, gaining praise from agricultural interests.
Crop industry associations called it a “disastrous provision that would have devastated crop insurance as we know it today, harming U.S. farmers and taxpayers alike.”
In a joint statement the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau (CIRB), American Assn. of Crop Insurers (AACI) and the National Crop Insurance Service (NCIS) said, “Crop insurance is a successful public-private partnership that has already sustained $12 billion in cuts since 2008. The likely result of additional cuts would be increased industry consolidation, reduced choice in insurance providers for all farmers, and a dramatic decline in the availability and service of policies. Make no mistake – this cut would jeopardize effective private-sector delivery of crop insurance and take risk management for farmers in the wrong direction.”
House and Senate agriculture committee leaders were united and unwavering in their opposition to the cuts when it was proposed last month and had secured promises from Congressional leadership that the farm bill would not be opened.
House Agriculture Committee chairman Michael Conaway (R., Texas), said, “By including language in the Highway Bill conference report to fully repeal a provision that was designed to kill crop insurance, the Speaker and the Majority Leader are working to keep their promise to me and to all of rural America. I also commend Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster for agreeing to include this time sensitive repeal in the Highway Bill conference report.”
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by Leo McCourt