West Texas cotton farmer testifies on crop insurance

Rickey Bearden, a producer from Plains, TX, and chairman of NCC's Crop Insurance Task Force, participated in a Crop Insurance Roundtable called by House Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Chairman Boswell (D-IA) and Ranking Member Moran (R-KS). Several other commodity groups participated in the meeting, which examined how crop insurance is working for producers.

Bearden expressed the need for higher coverage at affordable rates -- because in many areas, higher levels of buy-up coverage are extremely expensive. He also updated the members on the status of the cotton quality loss provisions with the Risk Management Agency (RMA).

The NCC has been working with RMA and USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service to develop better quality loss adjustments within the cotton program in the hope that RMA will be able to implement those changes in the near future.

Bearden also reiterated the industry's position that RMA should allow: 1) an individualized based rating that would not disadvantage good producers in bad county experience situations and 2) different levels of coverage for irrigated and non-irrigated production, provided dryland production is not insured at a higher percentage than irrigated. Under the current system, which limits a grower to a single coverage level for both practices, a diverse cotton operation is stuck with balancing the coverage level between two entirely different risk management situations.

In addition, Bearden updated the members on the cottonseed pilot program recently approved by the RMA Board for the '10 crop year. He reported that it likely will be delayed until the '11 crop year.

The NCC will continue to work with Congress and the RMA to implement these programs that already have been approved and to look at new ways to assist cotton producers in managing their risk.

TAGS: Cotton
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