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Maintain Current Funding For Crop Insurance

28 January 2010

US - A number of agricultural organisations submitted a letter to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack expressing concerns regarding potential cuts to the Federal Crop Insurance Programme in the Fiscal Year 2011 Budget.

“The crop insurance programme under the US Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency provides a critical component of the farm safety net,” said National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson. “In making annual planting decisions, producers rely upon crop insurance products to maintain stability and assurances in the event of reduced yield from natural disasters.”

While Congress provided significant funding to the federal crop insurance programme through the 2008 farm bill, Administrative and Operating reimbursement was reduced by 2.3 per cent and programme outlays were reduced by $3.9 billion over five years. As the current administration considers programmes for budgetary savings, NFU emphasises that cuts should not be made to programmes that are critical to the operation of agricultural producers.

“Beyond the farm gate, the crop insurance programme is important to millions of Americans because of the food security it provides,” said Mr Johnson. “During periods of disaster such as those we have recently experienced in Florida and California, farm operations are able to remain economically viable to provide a steady and consistent food supply.”

NFU is further concerned that any such cuts will result in a reduction to the overall farm bill baseline, an action that would have consequences in both the near and long term.

“It is vital that the crop insurance programme is adequately funded to continue providing critical support to America’s farmers,” said Mr Johnson.

The letter was supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Farmers Union, National Sorghum Producers, Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, US Rice Producers Association, USA Rice Federation.

Click here to view the letter.

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