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Farm-state lawmakers unite against crop insurance funding cuts

Farm state lawmakers step forward to support crop insurance and stand against cuts in funding. The government proposes cut $3 billion dollars from the federal crop insurance program in the new federal budget. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley was briefed Monday night about the plans.

Grassley said the last negotiations finalized in 2010 between the USDA Risk Management Agency and crop insurance providers cut $6 billion dollars. He said agriculture and especially crop insurance has done more than its share to cut the federal budget.

“We pass a farm bill once every five years. We want to bring certainty to the business of agriculture. 2% percent of the people produce food for the other 98%. The principle is you shouldn’t break into a farm bill and change it in the middle and that is what this is doing. Whether it is crop insurance or the limitations that I want. Obviously, the limitations are a better thing to do than the crop insurance,” Grassley said.

The payment limitations Grassley is talking about is something he’s been working on for years.

“We have projected that to save $400 million for taxpayers. How come we aren’t tapping into this instead of the insurance program? It is just one area where we can find savings. By taking it from non-farmers who aren’t even farming,” Grassley said.

Grassley said crop insurance is needing because farming is so unpredictable. He met with other Republicans Monday night at a caucus discussing the cuts.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the proposed cuts to crop insurance in the deal would be more than $3 billion over 10 years. The deal also lifts the debt limit through March of 2017. The deal must be approved by the House and it will then be considered by the Senate with a debate and a vote as early as Thursday.