Sending Office: Honorable Rodney Davis
This week we will begin consideration of H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, more commonly known as the Farm Bill. During this process, we will likely be asked to consider amendments that would do irreparable harm to the nation’s crop insurance
As a Member of the House Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, I have participated in numerous hearings and listening sessions on the Farm Bill and the various programs contained within the bill. One consistent theme from these meetings was
“do no harm to crop insurance.”
Crop insurance is purchased by farmers, and farmers must prove that they have met a deductible to be eligible for a payment for a portion of their loss. On average, farmers collectively spend $3 to $4 billion per year out of their own pockets for crop insurance
coverage, and the average deductible is approximately 25% of the expected value of the crop.
Crop insurance isn’t just available to the corn and soybean farmers in my district in central Illinois. Crop insurance policies are available on more than 120 individual crops – from apples to walnuts. Crop insurance is also available in all 50 states.
With the addition of Whole Farm Revenue (WFR) policies in the 2014 Farm Bill, some form of crop insurance is now available to all crops. The policies available to farmers are as unique as the farms they protect.
Importantly, instead of placing the entire risk for crop insurance on the American taxpayer – like ad hoc disaster assistance does – crop insurance shares risk between taxpayers, farmers and the private sector delivery system. The program is a model of
fiscally conservative small government that should be applauded, not attacked.
I have heard from farmers across the country that they need crop insurance to obtain operating loans, particularly with farm income down approximately 50% over the past few years. These farmers laud crop insurance as a rapid response solution to disasters,
as the private sector can typically get payments to farmers for their losses in less than thirty days, while ad hoc disaster assistance can take months or even years.
And I haven’t just heard from farmers. I’ve heard from lenders that the regulators examining agriculture lending portfolios often insist that borrowers have insurance. I have heard from conservation organizations that crop insurance provides environmental
benefits through required wetlands protections and highly erodible lands protections. I have heard farm input manufacturers and rural retailers tell me that crop insurance protects rural jobs by helping farmers rebound quickly after a disaster to pay credit
obligations and purchase farm inputs.
It was in the great state of Illinois at Bradley University that President Eisenhower said, “You know, farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” I believe we should look to those a little closer
to the field for guidance when we vote on crop insurance amendments in this Farm Bill. I would urge you to support America’s farmers, ranchers, rural economies and national security by opposing amendments that would harm crop insurance.
Member of Congress
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