House Farm Bill Amendments Attack Crop Insurance

May 14, 2018 12:25 PM
There are 103 amendments to the House version of the farm bill, several of which aim to make significant changes to the crop insurance programs.

The House version of the Farm Bill, which is expected to have floor time this week, made its way through mark up last week which resulted in 103 amendments, several of which aim to make significant changes to the crop insurance programs.

“Amendment topics include the usual controversial proposals on capping crop insurance premium subsidies, means testing for the program, changing the sugar program, etc.,” says Jim Wiesemeyer Pro Farmer policy analyst.

An amendment from Reps. Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) , “caps spending on Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs at 110% of CBO-predicted levels for fiscal years 2021 through 2025.”

Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL) aims to simplify the program with his amendment, which “streamlines the sign up process for Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) by directing the Secretary of Agriculture to change the regulatory requirements from an annual sign up to a ‘one and done’ process for ARC and PLC only.”

An amendment from Reps. Mark Sanford (R-SC) and Ron Kind (D-WI), “lowers the Profit Margin that Crop Insurance Companies are guaranteed referred to as the ‘Target Rate’ of return from 14.5% to 12%.”

An amendment from Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) “reduces crop insurance premium subsidies for insurance policies by 15 percentage points, except for catastrophic level of coverage.”

Two representatives want subsidies to be public record. The amendment from Reps. Kind and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), “allows for public disclosures of crops insurance premium subsidies.”

Rep. Kind also wants to remove cotton from the Title 1 insurance programs. Another amendment from him “makes cotton ineligible for the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs under Title 1 and returns cotton to the Stacked Income Protection Program (Stax).”

Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) wants tobacco farmers to pay for their own insurance. His amendment “amends the federal crop Insurance act to prohibit the Department of Agriculture from subsidizing crop insurance premiums for tobacco. Any saving that occur as a result of this bill must be deposited in the Treasury and used for deficit reduction.”

An amendment from Rep. Blumenauer “creates a payment limit of $125,000 a year for recipients of crop insurance premium subsidies.”

Reps. Keith Rothfus (R-PA), Kind and Sensenbrenner hope to “limit crop insurance subsidies to only those producers that have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $500,000 or less,” with their amendment.

Similarly, Rothfus and Kind want to “limit commodity and conservation assistance to only those producers that have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $500,000 or less.”

It’s important to note that not all of these proposed changes will be approved.

“The Rules panel meets late Tuesday afternoon to set the terms of the farm bill debate, and again on Wednesday afternoon to decide which amendments can be considered on the House floor,” Wiesemeyer explains.

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Spell Check

lawrence, j
marianna, FL
5/15/2018 09:47 AM

  Re-organize RMA. The group in Kansas City has been in place too long. They do not do what is best for agriculture, they do what is best for them. The compliance section follows the same pattern of the doj & fbi. They investigate a farmer, hold up legitimate payments and drag it out for years. This in turn breaks the farmer financially, which is their entire purpose. These things need to be fixed, however all the old hats in KC and Washington will not help fix the problems.

Mitchell, SD
5/15/2018 09:14 AM

  I have been in farming, crop insurance sales, and banking. I think it is about time that some of the gross subsidies are removed or severely limited. With the changes to crop insurance over the past few years, many a farmer has figured out "How to farm the Insurance programs". They have basically zero at risk. This is part of the reason the large farms increased their acres dramatically, and part of the reason why farm land sales prices, and cash rents increased also. The smarter than average farm operator was able to calculate exactly what he could pay in rent, etc. and still break even, (NO RISK) EVEN IF they had what would normally be considered a disaster. And some wonder why seed and chemical companies, and implement manufacturers all increased their prices also? They just "wanted a piece of the pie"!! And about time congress gets serious about setting subsidy limits on everything. Out of one side of their mouth, they talk about preserving the "family farm" (what a joke), and how to help the small beginning farmer, (one who doesn't have a Dad or granddad w thousands of acres) get a start in farming, and have a snowball's chance in hell of making a success. And out the other side, all they (Congress, rule makers) do is help the BIG get BIGGER, by setting no real limits!! One day, Americans will pay for their food.....That day will come, when the Cargills of the world, or the John Deere, or similar large companies, ALSO control the majority of the farmland in the USA, and around the world. God help us. Rural America as we have known it, will soon be a distant memory, only to read about in history (or fiction) books.......Amen!

arlo blumhagen
Drake, ND
5/15/2018 04:36 PM

  Jack, of Mitchell South Dakota hit the nail on the head!! John Deere, The green machinery folks have had a plan for more than 10 years, where they would be the farmers "one stop shopping center". Get machinery, seed, chemicals,etc, and of course financing at your local dealer. That is why they even got into crop insurance. American agriculture is looking a lot like Russian agriculture when Joseph Stalin drove the small independent farmers off the land and made the "collectives".