It is vitally important that you urge your Senators to vote NO on all amendments that propose to cut, cap or limit crop insurance including the amendments offered by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and the amendment offered by Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY). Any Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) reforms should focus on private sector delivery mechanisms, leverage the expertise of independent agents and avoid further paralyzing cuts to this safety net.
Durbin/Coburn Amendment: This amendment reduces premium support 15 percentage points below the amount normally provided for producers with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) in excess of $750,000. This change imposes a 25% reduction in premium support for these farmers!
The long-standing goal of the crop program is to sell insurance to all farmers equally, regardless of what they produce, where they produce, the size of their operation, or the income of their operation. A means test for producer support would violate this fair and successful program principle of equal opportunity. Farm lenders have also stated their opposition to any amendments that would limit participation in the program by producers, including efforts to impose means testing on producers. Crop insurance is dependent on high producer participation. When risks are pooled across a large number of participants they can be reduced by spreading losses across many individuals.
Gillibrand Amendment: This amendment looks to cut the FCIP baseline by $5 billion to offset cuts to the SNAP (food stamp) program. This offset would cut overall Administrating and Operating (A&O) funds by 37% ($475 million) and reduce the cap amount to $825 million. Since 2008, crop insurance has been one of the only sectors to take repeated budget cuts in order to help pay for deficit reduction. The FCIP has ALREADY been cut by $6 billion in the 2008 Farm Bill and $6 billion during the 2011 Standard Reinsurance Agreement (SRA).
Action Needed: Please call you Senators and urge them to vote against these amendments using the talking points below. Please send this grassroots alert to your employees, friends, family, and clients and also ask them to call to express their opposition to these amendments!
Senator Amy Klobuchar (202) 224-3244
Senator Al Franken (202) 224-5641
1) As an independent agent and small business owner in Minnesota I urge the Senator to vote NO on the Durbin/Coburn amendment. Attempts to pick winners and losers and limit crop insurance participation and producer eligibility for premium support will have the unintended effects of reducing a farmer's ability to secure financing. This will increase calls for ad hoc, off-budget disaster assistance.
2) I also urge the Senator to vote NOon the Gillibrand amendment. The FCIP is already sustaining cuts of $12 billion and additional cuts to the program during these difficult economic times will have a destabilizing effect on rural economies and small businesses that produce jobs in America's farming communities.