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Crop Insurance Support Among Farmers Nearly Unanimous
(INDIAN WELLS, Calif.)—Almost every farmer who uses crop insurance supports the risk management tool and opposes legislative attempts to undermine it. That’s according to a new study conducted by the Crop Insurance Professionals Association (CIPA), which was released at this week’s annual crop insurance convention.
Crop insurance agents represented by CIPA delivered the survey to their customers, and more than 1,300 farmers, growing 20 different crops in 26 states, responded. Among the results:
- 96 percent oppose funding cuts to crop insurance like the one recently proposed in the White House’s FY2017 budget request;
- 97 percent oppose reopening the 2014 Farm Bill to change crop insurance;
- 94 percent oppose the AFFIRM Act, a legislative proposal introduced last year to reduce crop insurance benefits and limit coverage options;
- 97 percent prefer that crop insurance be administered by the private sector instead of the government;
- 93 percent said their banks demand crop insurance coverage before extending needed operating capital; and
- 99 percent noted that current low commodity prices and extreme weather make crop insurance coverage a necessity.
“It is clear that farmers depend on crop insurance and are willing to fight to defend a policy that helps them combat extreme weather and volatile markets,” said William Cole, an agent from Batesville, Mississippi and current chairman of CIPA. “Farmers made their support very clear late last year when they rallied together to beat back attempts by some in Congress to erode the current system.”
The survey also took on two vocal farm policy opponents that are working to undermine crop insurance. The first is the Center for Rural Affairs, which recently produced a report card on crop insurance’s effectiveness and gave it a failing grade. CIPA asked farmers to grade crop insurance, and fewer than 1 percent agreed with the Center for Rural Affairs’ assessment. Instead, nearly six in 10 respondents gave crop insurance an A and 36 percent selected a B.
Next, the survey asked if it were appropriate for university professors to profit from designing crop insurance policies and then take money from farm policy opponents to criticize crop insurance. Ninety-four percent of respondents said, “Making money being on both sides of an issue is a conflict of interest.”
The survey can be viewed at this link.