The past success of crop insurance programs, along with future challenges, were themes of February's National Crop Insurance Services convention. "Our critics cannot succeed if agriculture is united and is working hand-in-hand to educate the public," said Mike Day, NCIS board chairman.
The preliminary stages of development for the 2018 farm bill are characterized by questions including the future of components such as the agriculture risk program and cotton assistance, but the safety net of crop insurance must remain intact, stakeholders say. "Agriculture appears to be united in one regard -- the importance of crop insurance and keeping it available and affordable for ALL farmers," Laurie Langstraat of NCIS writes.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., promised to protect crop insurance and to try to expedite finalization of the 2018 farm bill during a Friday speech to the Kansas City, Mo., Federal Reserve Bank's 2017 Agricultural Symposium. "It is important that the role of government be a partner, not an adversary, to our farmers and ranchers," Roberts said.
Stakeholders must work to ensure that the upcoming federal budget includes funds for crop insurance and commodity programs, said industry representatives at the recent "US Agricultural Risk Policy: Debating the Status Quo" seminar. "Crop insurance has been a huge success," said former USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber, who is now a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute.
Cuts proposed by President Donald Trump to the federal agriculture budget threaten crop insurance, but Congress can prevent drastic reductions, said Adam Nielsen of the Illinois Farm Bureau at a June 8 meeting. Sidwell Crop Insurance's Brenda Sidwell, based in Oklahoma, predicted revenue protection loss resulting from federal crop insurance cuts would "devastate some of our farmers."
Unseasonable winter temperature and weather swings took a toll on the cherry and peach crops on Colorado's Western Slope, said grower Bruce Talbott of Talbott's Mountain Gold. Volumes are down for both crops, and they're likely to also be lower for other crops, including apples, grapes and pears.
A US Department of Agriculture weather report detailing drought conditions may indicate the importance farmers place on drought mitigation because of how it relates to their crop insurance, Stu Ellis writes. The Trump administration's proposed budget would potentially jeopardize farmers' success by cutting conservation programs and crop insurance programs, he writes.
Prices for Maine's wild blueberries fell from around $1 a pound to about 30 cents from 2011 to 2016, raising worries that the state's growers won't be able to survive. The amount of acreage dedicated to the crop hasn't declined, but the number of bees imported to pollinate the crops dropped 20% last year, hinting that farmers may grow less fruit, said University of Maine horticulture professor David Yarborough.
Landowners approached to lease their land for alternative-energy projects should thoroughly review lease agreements before signing them, writes attorney Erin Herbold-Swalwell of Brick-Gentry. Factors to scrutinize include lease length and termination rights.
I wonder if anyone understands the need for a solid crop insurance program more than the Kansas farmer. Drought, hail, wind and floods can ravage farms and sometimes Kansas farmers can experience all of these disasters in the same year.