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Farmers Need Stable, Dependable Crop Insurance

Crop insurers paid a record $9.1 billion in indemnity payments to U.S. farmers in 2011, the largest loss claims in the program's history, according to USDA's Risk Management Agency
February 14, 2012

Crop insurers paid a record $9.1 billion in indemnity payments to U.S. farmers in 2011, the largest loss claims in the program's history, according to USDA's Risk Management Agency. And just 81 percent of the claims have been finalized. Former USDA Chief Economist Keith Collins says over the past four years more than $27 billion in privately-funded crop insurance has been paid to farmers impacted by market changes or natural disasters. Simultaneously, however, Collins says Congress has lowered its federal crop insurance commitment by more than $12 billion.

“With those large loss claims, with the funding cuts in the program, we now have a program that's being delivered probably more efficiently and effectively than ever,” Collins said. “I think we have to be very careful in the 2012 Farm Bill to not do damage to the heart of this program and that is the delivery and the infrastructure. Farmers say this is their most important program, they want this program and without a sound crop insurance program with a capable and effective delivery structure there could be big problems in agriculture if we don’t have this effective protection in place.”

Read more on the value of the crop insurance market: Record Indemnities Underscore Value of Crop Insurance (Farm Futures 2/7/2012)

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