Willis noted that the administration would prioritize implementation based on those programs that affect the most growers. He specifically mentioned ensuring a 2015 signup for the STAX program that provides enhanced insurance protection for cotton farmers and the new Supplemental Coverage Option for growers of other crops.
Constantly improving crop insurance availability, program integrity, and communicating with farmers and the general public should be top goals of both the industry and RMA moving forward, he said.
Recapping a positive year for the industry, NCIS and AACI also revealed notable statistics for 2013 at the convention:
• Farmers spent $4.5 billion to purchase insurance policies, up from $4.1 billion in 2012. This brings farmers' total investment in crop insurance to $38 billion since 2000.
• 52,000 more policies were sold in 2013 than 2012.
• Crop insurance protected $123 billion of potential liabilities last year, as compared to $117 billion in 2012 and $114 billion in 2011.
• A record 296 million acres, or 90% of insurable cropland, was covered by crop insurance in 2013. U.S. farmers protected 86% of eligible acres in 2012 and 84% of acres in 2011.
• To date, 423,000 policies have been indemnified in 2013, a sharp fall from the record of 495,000 in 2012. As a result, taxpayer costs dropped considerably.
"The fact that farmers were able to bounce back from the worst drought in decades and plant bumper crops, all without a call for disaster assistance to Congress, underscores the value farmers place on crop insurance and why they are protecting a record number of acres," said Tom Zacharias, president of NCIS.
"Crop insurance is the risk management tool of choice for farmers, ranchers, farm leaders, bankers and members of Congress for one reason: it works," he said.