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Giving It Away Free

Giving It Away Free

Free Crop Insurance Can Save Money and Strengthen the Farm Safety Net
Sunday, April 1, 2012

By Bruce Babcock, Professor of Econcomics, Iowa State University

View and Download the report here: Giving it Away Free

A simple, free program to insure farmers against actual crop losses at full market price would be cheaper and fairer than today’s hopelessly inefficient and costly system.

The record high income earned by growers in recent years has changed the politics of sending taxpayer-supported direct payments to farmers. Agriculture's leaders and their Congressional allies can no longer claim credibly that there is any public purpose to giving farmers $5 billion a year at a time when crop prices and income levels are so high. But instead of simply abolishing the program and either reducing the federal budget deficit or shifting the funds to programs that truly serve public needs, such as agricultural research or reducing farming's environmental damage, Congress seems poised to use a large portion of the money to create a new crop insurance program to support commodity growers. To make it look better to the public, it's being dressed up as a "safety net" that will pay farmers when a "loss" occurs. But as proposed, a farm wouldn't need to suffer any actual financial loss to collect; all that it takes will be the appearance of a loss.

View and Download the report here: Giving it Away Free