When President Obama unveiled his recommendations for the Super Committee earlier this week, an item that caught a lot of attention within the agriculture industry was changes to crop insurance. Obama's plan would cut crop insurance more than $8 billion over the next decade.
"The crop insurance industry shares the President's goal of deficit reduction, but we are deeply concerned that the President's debt reduction proposals seriously threatens the viability of the crop insurance program, and with it the vital safety net it provides the nation's farmers," said National Crop Insurance Services President Tom Zacharias. "We do not need to look to the past to know how important crop insurance is to agriculture today and in the future. This crop year is not even over yet and farmers have experienced extremely volatile commodity prices and devastating weather events."
Zacharias says that the proposal could cripple the nation's primary risk management program that already contributed $4 billion to deficit reduction last year when changes to the program were made.
"This is happening at a time when the industry is providing coverage on approximately 260 million acres at a value of over $110 billion," Zacharias said. "Congress needs to give the President's proposals a close examination and reject those elements that truly threaten the federal safety net."
Members of Congress have also voiced disapproval of the cuts proposed to crop insurance. Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, calls President Obama’s deficit reduction plan more of the same.
Of all the programs out there helping farmers, Grassley says he’s heard from farmers that the crop insurance program is one of the most vital to ensuring that necessary food, fiber and fuel are produced.
Grassley says the Senate Ag Committee does have the opportunity to make its own recommendations to the deficit reduction super committee and could express disagreement with the President’s proposal.