Failure last week of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a farm bill underscores a lot of uncertainty within the agriculture industry across the country.
Farmers are left to wonder on the fate of provisions of the farm program that have become critical to their ability to plan and to assure them a safety net. Maintaining a sound crop insurance program is a top priority for many farmers across the country.
And crop insurance may be a key target in future debates.
For the past few years, crop insurance has been the key to staying in business in the wake of two devastating droughts over the Southwest and a historic drought over the Midwest last year. Floods, wind and cold have also damaged crops in the last few months. And the Southwest remains in the grips of a drought that is well into its third year.
Crop insurance, according to the National Crop Insurance Services out of Overland Park, Kan., continues to protect millions of acres of farmland across the nation.
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The latest NCIS report indicates that more than 325,000 policies have been processed through participating companies and the Risk Management Agency as of June 24, 2013. Those policies protect nearly 93 million acres representing nearly $28 billion in liabilities, accounting for $104 million in farmer-paid premium. These numbers will continue to grow as more policies are processed and farmers plant their acres.
Numbers also show how much farmers have depended on crop insurance for protection.
- In 2012, farmers invested more than $4.1 billion to purchase more than 1.2 million crop insurance policies, protecting 128 different crops.
- Crop insurance policies protected more than 281 million acres in 2012, with insured acreage equal to 86 percent of planted cropland.
- $30 billion: Farmers have spent more than $30 billion out of their own pockets to purchase crop insurance since 2000.
- To date, Kansas, Texas, California, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota lead the way in the number of crop insurance policies purchased.
It’s an integral part of farmers’ safety net and throughout farm bill debates farmers and their associations urged legislators to do no harm to crop insurance.
In a recent statement following the defeat of a farm bill proposal in the House, Rodney Mosier, executive vice president of the Texas Wheat Producers Association urged a resolution to the farm bill stalemate.
“Most farmers cannot secure financing without proof of crop insurance and the assurance of a sustainable safety net,” Mosier said. “It is hard for financial institutions to continue approving loans when no one knows what the farm safety net will look like.”