In just about every walk of life, we look for ways to manage risk. Insurance protection is available to protect our families, our health, our homes, our vehicles. It only makes sense that insurance protection should be available to help farmers and ranchers produce something that everyone must have to survive: the nation’s food supply.
Unfortunately there are critics who like to complain with their mouths full, not thinking for a minute about where their food comes from. They criticize farmers and ranchers for being too successful, too wealthy or too big, and believe the nation’s fiscal challenges should be balanced on their backs. But these attacks on crop insurance are direct hits to our rural economy and ultimately would take food off of the table.
U.S. farmers and ranchers provide food, feed, fuel and fiber to families across this country – regardless of size or income level. Shouldn’t we provide them access to crop insurance in the same manner? Drought, hurricane, tornado, flood – no matter the region or crop, unpredictable weather conditions impact every farmer and rancher, and therefore every single American, in some way. The problem is most people don’t realize the impact that crop insurance has on their lives.
Our nation’s farmers produce different crops, using different techniques, with unique risks. But House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas recently made one important point: “despite these differences, our farmers have at least one thing in common: a belief that crop insurance is a vital risk management tool that must be preserved.”
Recognizing that crop insurance is key both to food security and the financial stability of rural America, the House and Senate Agriculture Committees crafted provisions to strengthen and enhance crop insurance. With over 282 million acres protected at a minimal cost, crop insurance is a sound investment for consumers, farmers and taxpayers. Over 20,000 jobs are tied directly to crop insurance, but the reach is much broader: one study found crop insurance saved 20,900 off-farm jobs and generated $2.2 billion in off-farm economic impact in four states alone.
As with other lines of insurance, crop insurance is a product selected in advance and tailored to the individual producer’s needs. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow put it well: “crop insurance is insurance, and the farmer gets a bill, not a check.” It also requires a broad pool of participants to function properly. Given its complexity, the private sector is well-suited to deliver products and indemnities in a timely manner.