LUBBOCK, Texas – Saying he wanted growers to have more choices and more coverage, Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, unveiled new legislation that creates a crop insurance option for producers that would cover both individual and area yield or revenue losses.

“In my conversations with farmers, they continue to tell me about shortcomings in the crop insurance program,” Neugebauer said. “After working with producers and insurers, I’m pleased to present this legislation that takes a first step in improving risk management options.”

Neugebauer’s Risk Management Enhancement Act, H.R. 4702, builds additional risk protection into crop insurance by allowing farmers to stack group risk protection coverage on top of an individual Multi-Peril Crop Insurance policy. Farmers can choose to purchase GRP coverage up to the deductible portion of the individual policy, not to exceed 100 percent.

“My goal with this legislation is for growers to have more choices as well as more coverage,” Neugebauer said. “The delivery of this new coverage should be fairly straight-forward as it combines existing insurance products, rather than starting from scratch.”

This legislation builds more disaster coverage into insurance by allowing producers to stack area-based coverage on their individual policy, giving them more protection against widespread drought and storm losses. It also increases coverage for a relatively small increase in premium.

Congress has passed more than $30 billion in emergency assistance packages in recent years to help producers who have suffered substantial crop loss. The enhanced insurance coverage in Neugebauer’s legislation would help reduce the need for such packages in the future.

“Budget constraints and other political roadblocks are making it harder and harder in Congress to pass emergency packages,” Neugebauer said. “My bill makes growers less dependent on uncertain politics for disaster assistance and allows them to receive more disaster coverage through their risk management choices.”

e-mail: rsmith@primediabusiness.com