U.S. Senator Kay R. Hagan (NC) today announced that she's introduced an amendment to the Farm Bill that will make information about federal crop insurance policies more readable and accessible to farmers in North Carolina and nationwide.
"Under the 2012 Senate Farm bill, new commodity and crop insurance programs will be the sole safety net available to farmers," Hagan said. "This amendment will ensure that all producers understand the precise terms and conditions of these policies. I will continue fighting for North Carolina farmers so that the Farm Bill allows them to do what they do best: farm."
Hagan's "Plain Language" amendment would require the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) to use clear, concise and easily readable information about federal crop insurance programs. In addition, the amendment requires USDA to improve their website so that farmers have easy access to clear information about existing and new crop insurance policies created in the 2012 Farm Bill.
In 2010, the President issued an executive order requiring all federal agencies to use "plain language" in government communications. Unfortunately, the RMA is still 4 to 6 months away from completing "plain language training."
Hagan's amendment attempts to speed up compliance by requiring USDA to report to Congress within 180 days on the status of the agency's effort to meet the executive order's requirements. It would also require RMA to improve its Web site within one year so that agriculture producers have easy access to information on existing and new crop insurance policies.
Earlier this week, Hagan introduced a separate bipartisan amendment with Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) that reduces burdensome regulations for North Carolina farmers. That amendment has received support from North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and Secretary of the NC Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Dee Freeman.
Agriculture is North Carolina's largest industry, generating $74 billion in economic activity and employing nearly one-fifth of our state's workers.