By John Crabtree
At the Center for Rural Affairs, we’ve heard from farmers across the Midwest and Great Plains about the negative impacts of federally subsidized crop insurance for over a decade. A farm safety net is important to help family farmers mitigate risks, but there are real concerns with the current crop insurance program. The best way to begin addressing those concerns is through honest assessment of the crop insurance system.
Toward that end, the Center for Rural Affairs recently released a crop insurance report card, entitled:Promises vs. Performance: A Report Card Evaluating Federal Crop Insurance. Most of the grades awarded are not what parents would hope to see on their own child’s school report, and the accompanying Policy Brief offers further analysis and recommended reforms to improve the performance of the crop insurance system. In overall performance, crop insurance received a failing grade (www.cfra.org/crop-insurance-reform).
Subsidizing the nation’s largest and wealthiest farms on every acre, every year, regardless of crop prices, production or farm profitability, puts America’s natural resources at risk. And, absent reform, crop insurance gives mega-farms an advantage in bidding up land costs, driving their smaller neighbors out of business, and preventing the next generation of farmers from ever getting started.
The impact crop insurance will have on future years of farming practices is significant, making reform of the federally subsidized crop insurance system vitally important to the future of rural and small town America.
By John Crabtree of the Center for Rural Affairs can be reached at [email protected] Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.