Now that it appears that direct payments are out of the 2012 Farm Bill (at least for now) all eyes are turning toward crop insurance. There are a number of proposals out there, from caps on premiums to a wholesale government takeover of the program to provide the service - at a base level for free.
But just what has crop insurance done? How does it work today? Who benefits?
The folks at National Crop Insurance Services, a company that sells crop insurance, has released an educational video on the program and why it has become the risk management tool of choice for farmers.
NCIS has timed release of the video ahead of the Senate Ag Committee hearing today and Tom Zacharias, NCIS president, says "for the vast majority of Americans who have very little to do with agriculture, this video could be their introduction to [the program]."
He notes it's important for the public to understand how the ag sector has been able to bounce back from the most destructive weather in history, with farmers receiving $10.6 billion in indemnities for the policies they purchased.
In the first video, Zacharias explains that crop insurance has evolved as a way to limit taxpayer risk exposure by shifting it to private business. Other videos detailing the importance of crop insurance to agriculture and the role it has played in mitigating the long term damage to farmers and their livelihoods caused by natural disasters will be released in the future, complementing the existing video.
"Today's popular crop insurance system has proven time and time again to be the most efficient way to deliver assistance to farmers quickly after a disaster to help them recover," says Zacharias. "Best of all, the public-private partnership has been lauded from all major farm groups, elected officials, and most importantly, farmers themselves."