Crop insurance cuts will be fixed in budget deal

House moves forward with budget agreement vote after leadership assures ag members crop insurance cuts will soon be fixed.

Jacqui Fatka, Policy editor

October 28, 2015

2 Min Read
Crop insurance cuts will be fixed in budget deal

The Bipartisan Budget Agreement includes cuts to crop insurance, but leaders agreed to take those cuts out in the omnibus spending bill to be voted on yet this year after agricultural groups as well as top agriculture committee members said they would vote against the budget deal if it were not removed. The House approved the budget deal by a vote of 266-167.

The news first broke Tuesday when a draft agreement would have cut the target rate of return for crop insurance companies from 14% to 8.9% which was estimated to provide $3 billion in budgetary savings.  Previously the Administration had proposed only a cut to 12%, which had also been opposed by agricultural groups. 

The top leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture committees all were united in their opposition of the budget deal, emphasizing that the proposed cuts to crop insurance in the budget agreement would undermine a critical risk management tool for American agriculture producers and consumers. They had also said they had not been advised prior to the deal.

Their objections were heard Wednesday. House Agriculture Committee chairman Michael Conaway (R., Texas) thanked his colleagues for making it clear over the last 24 hours that the attempt to gut crop insurance was not acceptable.

“I take our leadership at their word when they committed to me and many of my colleagues that we will eliminate these harmful provisions in the not-so-distant future, which is why I will vote in support of the budget agreement,” Conaway said ahead of the vote on the House floor Wednesday afternoon. “While not the easiest path forward, this is a win for rural America and should be viewed as such.”

Conaway said farmers and ranchers had already done their part in reigning in the nation’s debt in the 2014 farm bill with an estimated $23 billion in savings.

“Leadership has heeded our concerns by agreeing to completely reverse this disastrous provision in the upcoming omnibus,” Conaway said. “Crop insurance is working as intended, and private industry deserves to be lauded, not thrown under the bus.”

Ranking member Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) said the assurances that the cuts will be removed and the farm bill will not be raided will allow him to support the budget agreement.

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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