National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson sent to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding potential cuts to the Federal Crop Insurance Program in the Fiscal Year 2011 Budget.
“The crop insurance program under USDA's Risk Management Agency provides a critical component of the farm safety net,” says Johnson. “In making annual planting decisions, producers rely upon crop insurance products to maintain stability and assurances in the event of reduced yield from natural disasters.”
While Congress provided significant funding to the federal crop insurance program through the 2008 Farm Bill, Administrative and Operating reimbursement was reduced by 2.3 percent and program outlays were reduced by $3.9 billion over five years. As the current Administration considers programs for budgetary savings, NFU emphasizes that cuts should not be made to programs that are critical to the operation of agricultural producers.
“Beyond the farm gate, the crop insurance program is important to millions of Americans because of the food security it provides,” says Johnson. “During periods of disaster such as those we have recently experienced in Florida and California, farm operations are able to remain economically viable to provide a steady and consistent food supply.”
NFU is further concerned that any such cuts will result in a reduction to the overall Farm Bill baseline, an action that would have consequences in both the near and long term.