National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson Monday sent a letter to U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack on the renegotiation of the Standard Reinsurance Agreement for the federal crop insurance program, as mandated by the 2008 Farm Bill.
Johnson urged the Secretary to make sure the renegotiation will not negatively impact the delivery of crop insurance or decrease the current baseline. He asked that the SRA strengthen risk management protection and makes certain that access to crop insurance is available to farmers of all crops, in all rural areas.
"It is a very troubling possibility that responsible financial adjustments in the federal crop insurance program may result in unintended consequences," Johnson said. "The next Farm Bill will be even more difficult to write if the starting point from which to reduce spending on crop insurance is even lower."
Johnson says any reductions in the level of farm program funding could significantly damage the American food system. The Farm Bill and related agricultural programs comprise less than 0.0025% of total federal expenditures, which he says makes it a wise investment in securing the world's leading affordable, safe and nutritious food supply.
"The SRA should provide reasonable incentives to enable diverse and competitive crop insurance agencies to service farmers in rural areas," Johnson said. "At the same time USDA must maintain the current baseline or it will be very difficult to get a new farm bill."