The public-private partnership of crop insurance should be maintained and expanded in the 2023 Farm Bill, according to members of Congress who spoke at the industry’s annual conference in California on Monday.
“The crop insurance industry plays an essential role in supporting agriculture in my home state and throughout farm country,” said Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.)
Smith joined Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Representative Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) and Representative Adrian Smith of (R-Neb.) in discussing the critical role crop insurance plays in rural communities.
Moran said he decided to run for Congress, in part, to make sure rural communities like his home of Plainville, Kansas, have a bright future.
“It is important to recognize the success of rural communities is directly tied to agriculture and the ability for farmers to stay in business is dependent on a strong Federal crop insurance program,” he said.
Carbajal said farmers in his district often tell him they rely on crop insurance.
“I can’t tell you how often I hear from the growers in my district how important crop insurance can be to them,” he said. “And we can continue to work to improve and expand the program.”
Representative Smith said crop insurance alleviated the blizzard and flooding devastation that took place in Nebraska in 2019.
“What you guys work on is so incredibly important not just in my district but across the country,” he said.
The members of Congress pledged to maintain and expand crop insurance in the 2023 Farm Bill. The debate over the key legislation will start soon.
“I’ll be looking to you for all your advice and input,” said Senator Smith. “As crop insurance agents, you talk with farmers every day and you know better than most what is happening in rural communities across the country.”
Moran said critics of crop insurance see it as a program that can be cut to increase spending elsewhere or as a vehicle for unrelated agendas such as environmental regulations.
“Instead, the American public should see, like I do, the farm families who are able to withstand a weather disaster and a failed crop and ultimately are able to pass farms and ranches from one generation to the next,” he said. “It is because crop insurance kept them in business.”
Carbajal thanked the crop insurance industry for the crucial role it plays in agriculture.
As the 2023 Farm Bill debate heats up, he said he wants to hear from the crop insurance industry and the farmers it serves.
“Please know that I am committed to ensuring crop insurance programs are maintained and even enhanced in the next Farm Bill,” he said. “I want to hear from you about what is important.”
Representative Smith said the public-private partnership of crop insurance removes a lot of the politics from disaster relief. He said the formula-based approach of crop insurance saves taxpayer dollars.
“As we do now shift gears to 2023 Farm Bill, as Salud pointed out, these are issues we all want to hear from you on,” he said. “The fact is you have the insight and expertise. I’m anxious to hear from you to see how we might take, I think, a solid program and make it better knowing that ultimately we can save taxpayer dollars because we can remove the politics of disasters that are bound to happen if all we have are ad-hoc disaster payments that are resulting from a vote in Congress.”