We had a great week in DC with a great small group. We had 14 CIPA members from some strategic regions across the country covering some significant ground, waving the banner for crop insurance generally, and speaking to issues of concern on the Hill right now.
We had more than 60 appointments with Members of the House and Senate and their staff, along with some key USDA, RMA, and FSA officials. As you can see from the picture below, even by the third day, the group was holding up pretty well. This picture was taken on the balcony of the House Agriculture Committee with Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) with the Capitol (under restoration) in the background.
Among the many issues discussed, CIPA fly-in participants expressed concern over conservation compliance and were very pleased to hear first-hand about the provision in the Agriculture Appropriations bill that would suspend any penalties, providing producers until June 30, 2016 to come into compliance while also offering USDA more time to get the rule right. This provision is not yet law, as it must still be agreed to by our Senate and the President. But it is good for producers, good for crop insurance, and good for the proponents of this provision because the latter should want a smooth rollout.
Our message was fairly simple. You may read our 1-page leave behind here. But, most importantly, we built and cultivated some relationships that will help us when we join in battle next time.