Grassroots effort helps halt proposed cut in crop insurance

News of the proposal caught ag organizations and farmers off guard across the state and nation but they rallied quickly and worked together to protest the proposed cuts.

Less than 24 hours later, the House and Senate reached an agreement to reverse the proposed cuts as part of the budget process.

“This is a great illustration of our grassroots process at work in Ohio. We had a pressing issue that would have really impacted our members, and they immediately reached out to their members of Congress to explain why this was a bad idea. Crop insurance is a critical risk management tool for farmers, and they depend on timely payments in a time of economic crisis,” said Yvonne Lesicko, OFBF’s senior director of state and national policy.

Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Jack Fisher sent a letter to Ohio’s congressional delegation urging them to oppose the measure that would cap the rate of return for crop insurance companies from the 2014 Farm Bill’s authorized amount of 14 percent down to 8.9 percent.

“Our nation’s crop insurance program is a successful public-private partnership that is highly efficient and ensures that losses are shared by farmers, the private sector and the government. This proposal to cut the private sector delivery system would harm the rural economy and negatively impact service and timely delivery of payments when there is a disaster,” Fisher wrote. “When losses have been sustained, a farmer’s livelihood depends on an accurate payment with quick delivery. The proposed cuts in the rate of return for the private sector delivery system puts timely and needed payments at risk.”

Farm Bureau will continue to advocate for appropriate funding levels for federal crop insurance. The elimination or reduced spending of several agricultural programs under the 2014 Farm Bill has made them even more important for farmers because for many it is their primary risk-management tool.