Crop insurance teetering on the “fiscal cliff”

crop insurance program

crop insurance programThe farm bill has been pushed to help to save the protection subsidies from the axe.

Lawmakers from rural areas who are concerned that the $9 billion in annual federal subsidies for crop insurance may be considered to be an easy target for cutting spending in order to avoid the looming fiscal cliff.

They are now seeking a new way to compromise on the farm bill in order to continue protecting farmers.

The House and Senate Agriculture Committee chairpersons had already been prepared to use a new farm bill in order to help to make a notable deficit reduction contribution. This would have involved changes to the crop insurance program involving $2.3 billion in cuts to food stamps and farm programs. That version had already passed the Senate. Meanwhile there is a measure that currently awaits action from the House, which would involve $3.5 billion in cuts.

However, the crop insurance changes came to a halt this week with efforts being made to merge these bills.

This effort occurred just as Republican House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama made a similar effort in order to reach an alternative to the current wide range of spending cuts and automatic tax increases that will come into effect in the new year and which risk harm to the economy.

Leaders of farm states are hoping to rescue crop insurance protection through an agreement on a farm bill that Boehner and the White House might agree to include into its efforts for a broader deal to reduce the deficit in the face of the possible fiscal cliff.

Although food stamps and other farm programs would be slashed, both the House and the Senate farm bills would still keep the subsidies for crop insurance intact. They provide coverage for a large amount of the losses that farmers can experience as a result of bad weather. A prime example of the protection that this coverage provides occurred over this last summer, with the record breaking and wide reaching droughts decimated crops throughout the farm states.

The crop insurance subsidies gave the economy vital support despite the drought and the massive damage it left behind in the fields. Both parties’ committee leaders have consistently held that this program is the one on which they rely the most.

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