The Senate is debating their version of the 2013 Farm Bill this week, and all of us need to make our voices heard. Here is the deal - I'm Kevin Rahn, and as a career farmer in Nebraska, I have been a participant in a wide range of farm programs over the years. They each came with varying goals and objectives.
The current shift in philosophy toward crop insurance premium subsidies has me worried.
Crop insurance is a good product that I have used for the past 30 years. However, I am wary of the cost of this subsidy to the US treasury the last three or four years, and the benefit it gives farmers, particularly the very large producers. Since crop insurance subsidies now make up the largest expense to the federal government under the farm program, this is a major issue.
Currently, there is no limit to the benefits one farming entity can qualify for regarding federal crop insurance premium subsidies. I could theoretically farm every acre in my county, or state for that matter, and the USDA would pay 60% of my federal crop insurance premium. That would be millions of dollars to one farmer. Does this sound sensible? Ironically, as the grain prices go up, the premium for crop insurance also goes up, obligating the US Treasury for an even larger expense.
There is a proposal now before the Senate in Washington to add common sense limits to the crop insurance premium subsidies per farm entity and to make sure they go to actively engaged farmers, like most other program benefits. It is a bipartisan amendment sponsored by Sen. Shaheen, a Democrat, and Sen. Toomey, a Republican.
Will you join me and call your senators today? Tell them to support the Shaheen-Toomey amendment #926 that will cap premium subsidies and ensure they go to working farmers and not passive investors. Find your senators by clicking here and selecting your state.
Both of your senators will have a vote. Please add your voice to the debate today.
Kevin Raun, Minden, Farmer and proud supporter of the Center for Rural Affairs