At the Crop Insurance Industry Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Ariz., this week, crop insurance supporters discussed the farm bill's impacts on the industry and 2013 statistics with a visit from USDA's Risk Management Agency Administrator Brandon Willis and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
The convention, wrapping up Wednesday, focused on the way forward for crop insurance, even into the next decade.
"If I had to sum up the story of the crop insurance industry in one simple statement, I think it would have to be 'We've made a lot progress but our best years remain ahead of us,'" said Tim Weber, Chairman of the American Association of Crop Insurers and National Crop Insurance Services.
"We applaud our congressional leaders for overwhelmingly passing a Farm Bill that strengthens, not weakens, our commitment to crop insurance even in the face of federal spending pressure," Weber said.
"I truly believe that 10 years down the road, when we look back at the 2014 Farm Bill, it will be elevated to one of the major legislative initiatives that established landmark developments for crop insurance and production agriculture."
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Stabenow, called on to discuss the major changes to crop insurance in the farm bill, agreed, noting that the crop insurance provisions provide a "foundation" for bill and a farm safety net. Stabenow, the Chairwoman of the Senate Ag Committee, also highlighted changes for specialty growers, and explained that changes allow the program to provide savings to taxpayers.
"The farmer gets a bill, not a check with crop insurance…and they don't get help unless they really need it," Stabenow said referring to the premiums farmers pay and the indemnities that are only received after losses are verified.
Also speaking on farm bill changes, Risk Management Agency Administrator Brandon Willis addressed the convention, discussing plans for farm bill and crop insurance implementation.
"There is not an agency that I would rather implement a Farm Bill with than the team that we have at the Risk Management Agency. I have a high degree of confidence that the staff we have there will get this done right," he said. "Throughout the process, we will work with our [private sector] partners, because I know you bring valuable experience…and a perspective that we don't have," he said.