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Nation’s Drought Highlights Need for Crop Insurance Reform

Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, July 19, 2012

Washington, D.C. – Environmental Working Group held a media briefing with Dr. Bruce Babock of Iowa State University to discuss the 2012 drought and its implication for the federal crop insurance program.

Click here to watch the media briefing.

Click here to access Dr. Babcock's slideshow.

Craig Cox, senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources at EWG highlighted the need for meaningful reforms to make sure crop insurance provides a responsible safety net during bad years.

The following is a statement from Cox:

“What is happening this year is compelling evidence – if more evidence was needed – that farmers need a safety net. The government should step in when farmers suffer potentially crippling losses because of bad weather or other circumstances that are out of their control. Crop insurance could and should be that safety net. But the dramatic structural changes Congress made to crop insurance in 2000 will threaten the fiscal and political sustainability of crop insurance as this drought highlights the serious unintended consequences of those changes.

When payouts during droughts return greater revenue than would have been earned during normal weather, something is amiss with crop insurance rules. We fear that is exactly the situation we now face.

“There is no need for Congress to take reform of crop insurance off the table and jam through flawed legislation. If the farm bill isn’t passed, the crop insurance program will still be there to help out farmers affected by the drought. And the nutrition assistance program will still be there to help out families affected by a weak economy and job market. Common sense reform is urgently needed to create the fair, effective and fiscally responsible safety net farmers need and taxpayers can afford.”

Click here for more information on the crop insurance program.

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