Policy Plate: FERN on Subsidized Crop Insurance
Here’s a deal few businesses would refuse: Buy an insurance policy to protect against losses – even falling prices -- and the government will foot most of the bill.
That’s how crop insurance works.
The program doesn’t just help out farmers, however. The federal government also subsidizes the insurance companies that write the policies. If their losses grow too big, taxpayers will help cover those costs. In the farm bill now making its way through the Senate, crop insurance will cost taxpayers an estimated $9 billion a year.
- Farm and Food File columnist Alan Guebert says that the Senate farm bill’s “major “reform” to U.S. farm policy, a huge expansion of crop insurance, is neither reform nor farm policy.”
- At the National Review Online’s the Corner blog, Veronique de Rugy writes “Farmers Will Harvest Big Bailout in Next Farm Bill.”
- Food Safety News reports “2012 Farm Bill Advances Under Pressure Over Healthy Food.”
- The San Francisco Chronicle quotes EWG analyst Kari Hamershlag, “As a nation we have to decide, is it more import to subsidize high profits for crop insurance companies, or healthy food for kids?"
- The Marshfield Wisconsin News Herald reports “The massive dust storm that swept through central Wisconsin in late May was partially the result of an increase in exposed cropland in the region, a land use center has determined.”
- In a column for the Green Bay Gazette called “Growing Corn Industry Hurts Wildlife Shelters” Pat Durkin writes “If you drive through Wisconsin's farm country these days, you'll see bulldozers pushing old farmsteads, fencerows and windbreaks into monstrous burn piles to expand high-priced cornfields for feeding cattle and brewing ethanol.”
- Farmer and board member of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference Ron Rosmann assailed the current farm bill, saying to the Catholic News Service, “It's really sad that we live in a country as wealthy as we are compared to the rest of the world, and we can't even feed our own people. What burns my butt is we're producing ethanol and stuff, and we're not really producing food anymore. The bulk of it is raw commodities. We're supposed to have food security, and in reality we have less food security than we used to. Agribusiness and the industrial food system, you know, has so much lobbying power, and they give money to people that need to get reelected, so they're going to vote that way by and large."
- The Seattle Times' editorial board says "Congress shouldn't pass Farm Bill that sacrifices food stamps."
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