From the Field: Affordability & Availability of Crop Insurance is Critical For Farmers

May 1, 2015

Download this an a PDFThere’s a reason the 2014 Farm Bill made crop insurance the centerpiece of U.S. farm policy. It is an effective risk management tool for not only farmers, but also taxpayers. After decades of costly government bailouts, crop insurance has emerged as a way to reduce taxpayer risk and leverage private-sector efficiency following agricultural disasters. Now because of crop insurance everyone – farmers, policymakers, and bankers – can plan and budget for those disasters.

Below is a look at what farmers are saying about crop insurance all across the country:

“The biggest farm policy change through the years has been the affordability and availability of crop insurance. When we first started farming crop insurance was not an option because we couldn’t afford it. It wasn’t until Congress made reforms to the program a couple decades ago that we were able to participate. Additional reforms through the years have made crop insurance more widely available to a variety of crops regardless of farm size or method of production.” Cathy Scherler (The Denver Post)

“Mother Nature is the toughest, most unpredictable boss. Farmers are resilient and they adapt, but a safety net is crucial to their survival. And, it’s not a safety net if it’s not affordable. That’s what today’s crop insurance offers farmers. A safety net that is both affordable and widely available.” – Wade Cowan (High Plains Journal)

“What was different about the drought of 2012, which was the worst natural disaster to hit this state in my lifetime, is that the vast majority of the state’s farmers had purchased the best risk-management tool around: crop insurance…. Unlike direct payments in the past, crop insurance is not a handout. In fact, when farmers purchase crop insurance, they receive a bill, not a check, and only receive a payment if they incur a loss, and only after paying a deductible.” Keith Mussman (The News-Gazette)

“On the turn of a dime, a lifetime’s worth of work and every penny you have can be wiped out by a single hailstorm, a heat wave or drought, a springtime flood or frost…It takes so much money just to put a crop in the ground and harvest it at the end of the season that anyone farming without crop insurance might as well be playing Russian roulette.” Steve Baccus (The Wichita Eagle)

“Farmers buy crop insurance today just like they buy homeowners insurance. And when a good year turns into a bust, the only thing standing between some farmers and bankruptcy is their crop insurance policies.” Max Claybaker (The Oklahoman)

“Facing extreme conditions is part of farming that will always be with us. But for the sake of the rural economy and the many rural Americans who depend on it, keeping crop insurance robust and widely available is the best thing we can do for both farmers and consumers alike.” William “Midge” Tankard (The Fayette Observer)

Background: Crop insurance protects 294 million acres of food, feed, fiber, and fuel crops that account for more than $110 billion in liabilities. Policies are available for more than 125 crops and to farmers of all sizes in all states. Farmers spend $4 billion a year out of their own pockets for insurance protection tailored to their unique needs.