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Federal Employees' Union Attacks Crop Insurance Agents

Employees of the USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) are actively lobbying the USDA to be the sole agency to handle the processing of crop insurance...
May 24, 2011

Employees of the USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) are actively lobbying the USDA to be the sole agency to handle the processing of crop insurance claims and collecting acreage reports.

The FSA's employee union, the National Association of FSA County Employees (NASCOE), has asked its members to contact USDA and tell them that, "…FSA of the USDA should be the sole designated entity to take the acreage reports for all USDA purposes." Further, "agents have a motive for selling policies that are based upon acreages" and that "it does not make sense to pay a crop insurance agent to take the report on insured crops and FSA take acreage reports on all other crops."

Last week, PIA National issued an urgent Grassroots Action Alert to PIA's crop insurance agents, asking PIA members to file comments with the USDA opposing the FSA employee union's stance. The comment period ended last Friday May 20. Thanks to all the PIA members who responded and filed comments.

What It Means to Agents: With continued pressure to cut funding for farm programs, the FSA's employees union has apparently decided it can protect its members' jobs from future cuts by attacking crop insurance agents and taking over agents' functions. Moving certain parts of the crop insurance program back to FSA sets the program back 30 years to a time when the program was inefficient, underutilized and administrative costs were significantly higher.

The public/private partnership that has developed over the years has been critical to the overall success of the crop insurance program. Removing functions provided by the private sector from the crop insurance program and replacing them with federal employees is poor public policy and risks increasing, rather than reducing costs.

Read PIA's statement on the FSA attacks on crop insurers: Federal Employees Union Attacks Crop Insurance Agents (PIA press release 5/20/11)

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