By Traci Bruckner
Crop insurance is an important and necessary component of an effective farm safety net. However, it is a very complex program that will work more effectively with much-needed, commonsense reforms.
Under current law, we are subsidizing crop insurance at an average rate of 62 percent on every acre without limit regardless of farm size or wealth. We have an issue with that. Our tax dollars — the public trust — subsidize the largest operators no matter how big they get.
To be certain, crop insurance is a valuable and necessary tool for farmers. Fundamentally, we believe in government helping family-scale farmers manage risk. But, we think there ought to be a limit.
One federal study points to a single farming corporation that insured crops across eight counties and raked in $1.3 million in taxpayer subsidies in just one year. In turn, the largest and wealthiest farms use their premium subsidies to bid land away from smaller farmers and beginning farmers.
We are working to develop policy reforms that cap subsidies, create opportunity for beginners and diversified farmers, and link meaningful stewardship practices to enrollment in the program. The nation’s largest farms must carry their fair share of the cost of doing business, like any other economic sector.
This will be a tough fight. We don’t expect to win easily. But for over 42 years we’ve been fighting for family farmers and ranchers. We’re not backing down when it comes to crop insurance reform.
Traci Bruckner of the Center for Rural Affairs can be reached at [email protected],