WASHINGTON, D.C., July 19. 2018 -- The U.S. Senate is considering the Farm Bill this week. Significant crop insurance cuts are part of an amendment being offered by Senators Durbin (D-IL), Flake (R-AZ) and Grassley (R-IA). A vote on this amendment is scheduled to take place in the next 48 hours. This will be a very close vote and grassroots action is needed.
Please call your U.S. Senators with the talking point below. Note that you will be speaking with a staff assistant who will simply take your message down. This is not an intimidating call so please make it and encourage all staff, family and friends to make their own call. The more calls we make, the more effective our message. We need volume.
Senator Feinstein – 202-224-3841
Senator Harris - 202-224-3553
“I’m calling to ask my Senator to oppose the Durbin-Flake-Grassley amendment to the Farm Bill that would put an AGI limit on the Federal Crop Insurance Program, and to oppose any other amendments that would harm the Crop Insurance Program.”
This amendment would reduce federal premium support for crop insurance participants with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of more than $700,000 by 15% points for all buy up polices beyond catastrophic coverage.15% points equates to at 40% increase in farmer costs for their portion of the premium. It is not a small increase and will cause farms to drop or lower coverages.
A similar amendment setting the AGI limit at $750,000 has passed in the Senate twice, in 2012 (66-33) and 2013 (59-33) but was ultimately removed from the final legislation. The political dynamics for this vote are different. There is more understanding about how risk pools operate and there is research that shows that some larger farms are less risky.
Furthermore, there are a lot of rural seats up for reelection in November, there are new Senators that have not voted on this before, and commodity prices for farmers are half of what they were in 2015.
Also, ongoing trade/tariff issues are making farmer income more unpredictable, meaning it is critical that the crop insurance program does not sustain cuts. Crop insurance is the premier risk management tool for farmers.