(Posted Tue. May 21st, 2013)
May 21: As the U.S. Senate resumes debate on the 2013 farm bill approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee last week, the National Corn Growers Association joined a broad coalition of commodity organizations and conservation and environmental groups in announcing its opposition to a variety of proposed amendments that would have an adverse impact on the federal crop insurance program. The amendments include provisions that would introduce means testing, subsidy caps and public disclosure of information on crop insurance participants into the program.
NCGA, along with the other coalition partners, cited particular amendments as harmful to the federal crop insurance program including the Begich-Flake Amendment, the Durbin-Coburn Amendment, two Flake Amendments, Gillibrand Amendments #931 and #944, and the Shaheen-Toomey Amendment.
The Begich-Flake Amendment would require the disclosure of information on crop insurance program participants who receive benefits including their name, address and the amount of the subsidy.
The Durbin-Coburn Amendment would reduce premium support for crop insurance participants with an Adjusted Gross Income of more than $750,000 by 15 percent for all policies beyond catastrophic coverage.
The first Flake Amendment would prohibit premium subsidies on crop insurance policies with a Harvest Price Option. An HPO allows for the revenue guarantee to be recalculated if the harvest price of that commodity is higher than the expected crop price at the time of insurance enrollment.
The second Flake Amendment would strike section 11011, a provision which prohibits taxpayers from realizing budget savings upon renegotiation of the Standard Reinsurance Agreement.
Gillibrand Amendment #931 would fail to allow crop insurance providers to adjust to the cumulative effects of RMA-mandated rating methodology changes, record crop insurance claims in 2011 and 2012, and the more than $12 billion in administrative and legislative changes to crop insurance since 2008.
Gillibrand Amendment #944 would establish a loss threshold for automatic claims reviews. This threshold would be significantly lower than the threshold currently used by the RMA. In establishing the lower threshold, this amendment would slow the delivery of indemnities to farmers.
The Shaheen-Toomey would place a $50,000 cap on the amount of crop insurance premium subsidies a crop insurance program participant can receive.
These provisions, if adopted in part or in total, would negatively impact crop insurance programs and damage the farm safety net that supports our nation’s family farmers when facing adversity. NCGA continues to hold the importance of maintaining a strong crop insurance program as its foremost priority in the authorization of a new farm bill.
NCGA urges members and allies of agriculture to voice their opposition to these amendments by contacting their Senators through the U.S. Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.