Sending Office: Honorable John Garamendi
LaMalfa, Costa, McNerney, Palazzo, King, Abraham, Bost
115th Cosponsors: Garamendi,
Abraham, Comer, Cook, Costa, King, Matsui,
McClintock, McNerney, Nunes, Rouzer, Bera, Webster,
Gibbs, Wittman, Palazzo, Johnson, Conaway,
We invite you to cosponsor the Flood Insurance for Farmers Act (H.R.830), to make the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) work better for our nation’s farm
families. This bipartisan bill would lift the de facto prohibition on construction, expansion, or repair of agricultural structures like barns, sheds, and silos in areas designated at risk of floods by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA-designated Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) require that all new, expanded, or repaired structures be raised above potential flood levels. In many farm communities, this would require raising barns and silos upwards of 10 feet, which
is cost prohibitive or simply inconsistent with continued agricultural land use. This FEMA requirement effectively precludes many farmers from making capital improvements on their operations or securing the necessary financing to continue farming the floodplain,
as they have done for generations.
The Flood Insurance for Farmers Act (H.R.830) would enable local jurisdictions to provide variances from federal elevation and floodproofing requirements where
compliance with such standards is impracticable, where a variance would not threaten public safety, require extraordinary public expense, create nuisances, or conflict with existing laws and ordinances, and where no more than one claim over $1,000 has been
paid in the preceding 10 years.
The bipartisan legislation would also direct FEMA to develop a new flood zone (Zone AL) for those areas protected by levees that do not currently meet the federally mandated 100-year level of flood protection. NFIP rates in this new flood zone
would be based on actuarial risk, meaning if levees provide a 50-year level of protection, FEMA would charge rates based on that discounted risk level. FEMA’s current NFIP rates are essentially all or nothing. For example, if a levee does not meet the federally
mandated 100-year level of flood protection, FEMA assumes there is zero protection and charges full-cost NFIP rates.
Lastly, the Flood Insurance for Farmers Act (H.R.830) would require FEMA to develop a pilot program for “umbrella” NFIP policies. This would allow multiple agricultural
structures on a property to be insured under the same flood insurance policy. Current law requires a separate policy for each agricultural structure, and each policy has a $250 surcharge, leading to burdensome costs for farm families.
Agriculture is an inherently responsible use of any floodplain as it prevents development and preserves open space: a critical component of any successful, long-term flood management strategy. The
Flood Insurance for Farmers Act (H.R.830) would maintain agricultural infrastructure that supports local farm economies and protect the overall fiscal integrity of the National
Flood Insurance Program.
To be added as a cosponsor or for questions, please have your staff contact
Iain.Hart@mail.house.gov in Congressman Garamendi’s office or
John.Veale@mail.house.gov in Congressman LaMalfa’s office. Thank you for your consideration of this bipartisan bill.
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
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