10 June 2017 - Crop Insurance Needs to be Preserved

The budget proposal by the Trump administration has been public knowledge for several weeks. Frankly, I am not at all surprised by reaction to the President’s budget. - ‘You can’t cut my program because it is too important to cut, so cut everybody else’s programs.’ We are hearing that from education, health, the military and yes, we are hearing that from agriculture. We are no different in our reaction to the proposed budget.

Looking over the USDA budget, there are some rather sizeable cuts. I can understand the need for cutting expense because, as individuals, we are expected to live within our means, yet we keep asking government to initiate programs that take the Federal government far beyond its means. Do we forget that Federal money is actually our tax money. I fully understand that.

Yet there is one area in agriculture that I believe should not be cut and it is Crop Insurance. That opinion is shared by a lot of people in the world of agriculture. Do you remember what it was like before we had Crop Insurance? If there was an agricultural weather disaster anywhere in the country, we had to wait for Congress to approve special disaster funds to help farmers and ranchers, to keep them in business.

Then came Crop Insurance; now farmers and ranchers pay some money for the premium, they do get some assistance from USDA. But it means we no longer have to go to Congress and ask for funding for special disaster programs. Farmers and ranchers have ‘skin in the game’, so to speak, and Crop Insurance has become an excellent risk management tool.

Steve Van Voorhees is a New York State Crop Insurance agent, as well as an active farmer, and he recently said this about Crop Insurance - “Sometimes folks are quick to criticize Crop Insurance because they don’t realize, like agriculture, the program touches every state in the nation. It has proven itself to be our most effective risk management tool. Let’s allow this program to keep working, not just for the farmers who put everything on the line year after year, but for the solvency of our state and national agriculture economies as well.”

These are words from a New York farmer. I couldn’t agree more; keep the budget for Crop Insurance.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.