As congressional debate on the next farm bill gathers steam, farmers in Minnesota are calling for changes to the crop insurance program. A new report from the Land Stewardship Project argues that the current version of the program favors bigger farms and places an undue burden on taxpayers.
President Trump's nominee to run USDA's farm subsidy and land stewardship programs has waited for three months for a Senate vote, and acknowledges he faces a decision: To file for a fourth term as Iowa state agriculture secretary in this year's elections or wait for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to end his opposition to a vote on him. "I believe there is still hope right now," said nominee Bill Northey told Successful Farming.
The federally subsidized crop-insurance program, which costs $8 billion a year, "is an unlimited, uncapped entitlement program," says a coalition of 119 small-farm, organic and land-stewardship groups in farm bill proposals at odds with large-scale agriculture. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition proposed an annual limit of $50,000 in premium subsidies for the major crops, such as corn, wheat, soybeans and cotton, and a limit of $80,000 for higher-value specialty crops, such as fruit and vegetables.
At its presidential convention opening today, the Democratic Party will adopt a platform that vows to support family farms, "provide a focused safety net" and encourage development of clean fuels. "We believe that in order to be effective in keeping our air and water clean and combatting climate change, we must enlist farmers as partners in promoting conservation and stewardship," says the 55-page draft.
Congress should phase out premium subsidies on crop insurance policies sold to the wealthiest U.S. farmers and offer policies that reward growers who hedge their risks by planting a variety of crops instead of specializing in one or two crops, said...
The federally subsidized crop insurance system is skewed toward large-scale growers of crops such as corn and soybeans, says the Land Stewardship Project in the second of three white papers on the program.
The federally subsidized crop insurance system, which cost $58.7 billion from 2003-12, "lacks accountability and transparency," says the Land Stewardship Project in a white paper.