Today, Rep. Frank Lucas, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, released a statement reiterating his support for America's farmers and ranchers and rejecting the premise of a recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report suggests crop insurance program supports should be limited for farmers.
"Over and over again we have heard from our farmers about the importance of crop insurance because it forms the backbone of the safety net. I do not support the repeated attacks on an actuarial sound risk management program that serves as a good example of a public-private partnership where producers pay for coverage. This proposal would discourage participation in the crop insurance program and as a result endanger its integrity," said Chairman Frank Lucas.
Last month, the House Agriculture Committee began a series of field hearings across the country to learn how agricultural programs are working for producers. Below are excerpts of hearing testimony from farmers who explained how important the crop insurance program is to their operations.
John Mages, corn and soybean producer, Belgrade, Minnesota:
"First and foremost, please do no harm to Federal Crop Insurance, which should be preserved, protected, and strengthened. We strongly oppose any further legislative or administrative cuts to Federal Crop Insurance, and we oppose carrying conservation compliance or other rules applicable to the Farm Bill over to this critical risk management tool that we as producers help pay for."
Craig Adams, corn, soybean, wheat, hay, and beef producer, Leesburg, Ohio:
"Crop insurance in its current form is the most effective answer to short crop years. Any producer who desires an effective risk management tool can purchase crop insurance.
"We need an insurance program that's affordable to all crop producers across the U.S. Commodity markets are cyclical and our self-produced food is a national asset."
John Williams, sorghum, corn, wheat, and soybean producer, McLeansboro, Illinois:
"On my operation, I plan defensively and understand the upside and downside of risk. I have seen what can happen to friends and neighbors when they do not plan for risk, underscoring the need for meaningful risk management tools that producers can utilize. Therefore, my first priority is to 'do no harm' to Federal Crop Insurance.
Adam Sullivan, apple producer, Sullivan Orchards, Peru, New York:
"The apple industry is one of a handful of specialty crops that participates in the federal crop insurance program. Over the years, the industry has worked closely with USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) and as a result, significant improvements to the apple policy have been made.
"No crop insurance program will make a grower devastated by a natural disaster financially 'whole,' but it will allow them to survive a devastating loss and continue to support the economic engine of rural America."
Tim Burch, cotton and peanut producer, Burch Farms, Newton, Georgia:
"In addition, to Producer Choice, our growers must have access to a full range of workable and useful crop insurance products in order to compete for acreage. Working toward these goals, the nation's peanut farmers came together two and a half years ago to begin work with private industry and RMA to develop a viable insurance program for peanuts."
Walter Corcoran, Jr., cotton, corn, peanut, soybean, grain sorghum, and cow calf producer, Eufaula, Alabama:
"I have crop insurance coverage on most of my crops. Last year, because of the severe drought conditions, it provided a measure of risk protection that was critical to the economic viability of my farming operation. I strongly urge that crop insurance not be weakened during this farm bill. In today's environment of volatile prices and high input costs, effective risk management has never been more important."