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PIA’s Olson, McGillis Attend 2012 Crop Convention; More Cuts Announced

Larry McGillis and Kent Olson, two members of the PIA National Crop Insurance Working Group, attended the three-day American Association of Crop Insurers (AACI)/National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) 23rd Annual Crop Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona
February 28, 2012

Larry McGillis and Kent Olson, two members of the PIA National Crop Insurance Working Group, attended the three-day American Association of Crop Insurers (AACI)/National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) 23rd Annual Crop Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona. The big issues during the Convention were discussions on the next Farm Bill and FSA employee’s union [NASCOE] lobbying to take over A&O and delivery of the program.

USDA/Risk Management Agency Director Bill Murphy addressed the event and participated in breakout meetings along with Jon Coppess, chief counsel of the Senate Agriculture Committee. The national commodity groups joined in a panel discussion. Much of the discussion at the convention centered on the drafting of the 2012 Farm Bill. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) is beginning hearings next month with a goal of having a bill ready for floor hearings in late May or June, which insiders predict has less than a 50/50 chance of getting a floor vote scheduled by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D).

All participants in the writing of the next Farm Bill agree that “sooner will be much better than later.” An extension of current law after October 1 – or after the November election and into 2013 – will cause agriculture to suffer from even greater cuts due to the growing deficits. During the Crop Convention, the Administration released its proposed Ag Budget cuts of an additional $7 billion from crop insurance. Their budget also proposed a 3.3 percent cut to the farmer premium subsidy for crop insurance and huge cuts to private sector underwriting gains. History has indicated that most Administration budgets never come to fruition but with current massive deficits, Congress could side with the President!

Jim Lehrer, host of the PBS News Hour, spoke on the upcoming Presidential election and USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber presented an outlook for U.S. agriculture and crop insurance.

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