At listening session, calls for greater farm bill funding and a stronger SNAP
Congress needs to modernize the crop insurance program and update farm subsidies to reflect higher input costs and volatile commodity markets when it writes the new farm bill, said the leader of the largest U.S. farm group at a listening session in Texas on Wednesday. An anti-hunger leader asked lawmakers to “keep the importance of access to SNAP and the adequacy of those benefits top of mind throughout farm bill discussions.”
Farm safety net cushions big operators the most — analysts
Due to consolidation, federal farm supports increasingly are paid to the wealthiest producers, who have household incomes far above the rest of the country, said analysts at a think tank seminar on Monday. The stream of money to large operators was a stark contrast to frequent depictions of the farm program as the safeguard of small family farmers, they said.
CBO: SNAP to cost $121 billion a year
After surging to a record $149 billion last year as part of the federal response to the pandemic, SNAP will cost $121 billion a year in the near term, said the Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday.
Strengthen the farm safety net and rely less on bailouts, say farm-state senators
The government has spent nearly $70 billion on disaster, trade war, and pandemic relief since the 2018 farm bill was enacted, a huge amount that shows the need for a strong farm safety net that’s written into law rather than on the fly, said farm-state senators on Thursday. They called for a stronger and expanded crop insurance program as the first line of support for farmers and ranchers against uncertain weather, volatile commodity markets, and rising production expenses.
Swap crop insurance for area-based coverage — analysts
The government could save more than $2 billion a year if it replaced the public-private partnership of the crop insurance program with simpler and more tightly targeted disaster programs, said two agricultural economists. In an analysis for the American Enterprise Institute, Eric Belasco and Vincent Smith said a template for the less expensive program was the Pasture, Rangeland and Forage (PRF) insurance product offered by USDA.
Premium subsidies for crop insurance near $12 billion a year
In a decade, government outlays to subsidize crop insurance increased 60 percent, expanding in step with the rapid growth in acreage covered by the policies, according to Risk Management Agency data released Sunday.
Farm bill should protect, maybe strengthen, crop insurance, says Thompson
The incoming Republican chairman of the House Agriculture Committee said the new farm bill should protect the federally subsidized crop insurance program and "maybe we need to see about strengthening it."
Report: Wetter Midwest led to higher crop insurance payouts, not more cover crops
Rain, snow and sleet increased in almost all midwestern counties between 2001 and 2020. Along with that additional precipitation came increased federal crop insurance payments to farmers whose crops failed due to “excess moisture,” said a report Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group.
For farm bill, ag groups say, ‘We want some more’
Net farm income is at record levels, thanks to high commodity prices, and is expected to remain strong for two or three years, yet farm groups are telling Congress “that existing subsidy programs should be continued, their scope expanded, and federal spending increased” in the 2023 farm bill, said an American Enterprise Institute analyst.
Free crop insurance of conservation requirements, farm groups say
Congress ought to sever the link between access to reduced-price crop insurance policies and the requirement to protect wetlands and highly erodible land, said the leaders of two major Minnesota farm groups on Monday. Federally subsidized crop insurance, now the largest U.S. farm support, is becoming the flash point in discussions about the 2023 farm bill.
Crop insurance industry to House committee: ‘Stay the course’
Representatives of several lobbying groups testified Wednesday at a House hearing on crop insurance ahead of the 2023 farm bill, describing the program as one of the best tools available to protect farmers from crop losses, regardless of farm size.
Crop insurance cap could save billions — NSAC
Billions in taxpayer dollars could be saved over the next decade if the 2023 Farm Bill puts a cap on federal subsidies paid to farmers who purchase crop insurance, according to a special report published Tuesday by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC).
House conservatives’ proposal: Blow up the farm bill
Congress would dismember the farm bill if it adopted the ideas proposed by the conservative Republican Study Committee, whose membership includes four of every five Republicans in the House. In a budget package, the RSC said it would sever public nutrition programs from the farm bill, eradicate major farm supports and slash federal support of crop insurance.
Farm payments doubled during subsidy flood, says EWG
The government paid a record $41.6 billion in a variety of subsidies to farmers in 2020, double the amount they received in 2018, when the Trump-era cash gusher began flowing, said the Environmental Working Group on Wednesday.
Lawmakers mull margin protection, permanent disaster program for crops
Concerned by rising production costs and the longevity of sky-high commodity prices, farm-state lawmakers floated margin protection for crop growers and standby farm disaster programs on Thursday for inclusion in the 2023 farm bill. However, farm bill funding may be tight, which could limit Congress’ ability to add new features to the farm program.
SNAP outlays to surge by 18 percent this year — CBO
Federal spending on food stamps will rise by $24 billion this fiscal year, largely due to USDA's recalculation of the cost of a nutritious diet, said the Congressional Budget Office in a budget outlook that makes projections about the state of the federal budget and economy through 2032. The 18 percent increase in outlays would boost the cost of SNAP to $159 billion.
Report: Crop insurance premiums could skyrocket as climate change intensifies
Taxpayers shelled out nearly $40 billion in crop insurance premiums in the Mississippi River region between 2001 and 2020, and that number is expected to increase sharply as climate change intensifies, according to an analysis of Department of Agriculture data by the Environmental Working Group that was released Wednesday.
Cover crops get premium treatment again
For the second year in a row, farmers who plant cover crops are eligible for a premium benefit of $5 an acre on most crop insurance policies, said the USDA’s Risk Management Agency on Thursday.