by Ken Root
Although most of Rural America voted for Donald Trump, the first month of his administration has brought uncertainty to many fronts: regulation, taxes and government support of crop insurance.
The crop insurance industry held its annual convention last week, and took a good look at major issues that could impact companies and growers this year.
Crop insurance is poised for another year of helping farmers as the centerpiece of the farm safety net. Following an industry-wide crop insurance convention last week, where participants spent three days discussing the importance of partnering with the new Administration to help farmers manage their growing risks, the crop insurance industry is gearing up to help farmers again this year.
The event was organized by the National Crop Insurance Services and American Association of Crop Insurers. Tom Zacharias serves as the NCIS President. He says the crop insurance industry is ready for another successful year of providing critical coverage to farmers.
“It’s another year where the industry rolls up it’s sleeves and gets ready for the spring planning. The agents are getting ready for sales and policies, and making sure farmer’s have correct coverage in line,” Zacharias says. “We are ready, willing, and able to work with the new administration once the teams lands and get ready for a 2018 farm bill, presumably.”
Zacharias says there are many recent successes in crop insurance. “Since 2009, there has been an increase in insured acres due to the introduction of new products. Farmers have paid real dollars to pay for crop insurance protections. More recently, the improper payments measure came out from USDA, and the measure for crop insurance is about 2two percent.”
For perspective, the average improper payment rate for all government programs is 4.67 percent – more than double crop insurance’s.
With a new farm bill on the horizon, he says its important the new administration and lawmakers understand the importance of crop insurance and its role as the centerpiece of the farm safety net.
He says it’s also important to remember the value crop insurance provides for the rural economy.
“There is a recent study out by farm credit services that indicated that approximately twenty thousand jobs were saved in 2012 alone as a result of crop insurance.”
Zacharias explains “There are critics of the program, and we would hope going forward that they would be better educated on what’s going on. The new administration would have a deep appreciation of the value of this program, not only for farmers but for the economy, as well.”
Learn more about crop insurance online at www.ag-risk.org.