Sunday, April 22, 2012

Update: Crop Insurance & the 2012 Farm Bill

Here's a quick follow up to my post last week, Crop Insurance: A New Battleground. posted a link to the Senate Committee Print, the current official draft of the Farm Bill, released on April 20, 2012. Senate Ag Committee Chair, Debbie Stabenow posted a summary on the Ag Committee website,  Chairwomen's Summary of the Senate Committee Print.

With regard to farm programs, the summary states that the bill:
  • Eliminates direct payments. Farmers will no longer be paid for crops they are not growing, will not be paid for acres that are not actually planted, and will not receive support absent a drop in price or yields.
  • Consolidates two remaining farm programs into one, and will give farmers the ability to tailor risk management coverage—meaning better protection against real risks beyond a farmer’s control.
  • Strengthens crop insurance and expands access so farmers are not wiped out by a few days of bad weather.
The actual language of the bill introduces a new "shallow loss" program that provides revenue insurance to compensate farmers for modest losses due to price fluctuations and yield variations. For the more serious losses, traditional crop insurance is made available for many (but not all) crops, with premiums subsidized an average of 60%.

The Washington Post, in its article, Senate Action Kicks Off Uphill Battle to Pass Farm and Food Bill This Year notes that "[t]he Obama administration had proposed cuts in those subsidies for farmers and payments to insurance companies, but the draft maintains subsidy levels."


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