It’s a new day for American agriculture. No more direct payments. No more reliance on government ad hoc programs to swoop in and save farmers and ranchers from disasters.
“The passage of the 2014 Farm Bill marked a pivotal moment for risk management in U.S. agriculture,” say officials with the National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS). “Today, when farmers seek to manage risk, they do so by purchasing crop insurance.”
Crop insurance will change the way farmers and ranchers manage their operations, NCIS reports. Instead of managing disasters after the fact, producers select insurance products beforehand to provide flexibility and protection against loss. Since passage of the Agriculture Act of 2014, farmers have been meeting with crop insurance agents “and have spent more than $630 million out of their own pockets purchasing nearly 218,000 crop insurance policies. These polices protect nearly all major commodities and a long list of specialty crops including apricots, bananas, blueberries, cherries, coffee, olives and tangerines.”
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It’s not a completely new concept. Farmers across the country have relied on crop insurance as a primary safety net for the past several years.
“Last year, farmers spent nearly $4.5 billion to purchase more than 1.2 million crop insurance policies, protecting 128 different crops,” according to the latest NCIS report. “Farmers have demonstrated their strong support for crop insurance with their pocketbooks, spending more than $38 billion out of their own pockets to purchase crop insurance policies since 2000.”
NCIS officials say farmers need affordable crop insurance programs to make certain they maintain their ability to produce food and fiber for the country and for export around the globe. Strong agriculture support also equates to stronger rural communities.
“Crop insurance should remain affordable for growers, available to all regardless of size, and the public-private partnership should remain viable so that it can service those who buy insurance,” the report states.