April 3, 2014
Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) have introduced a bill (S. 2201) that would place a hard limit on crop insurance premium subsidies. The bipartisan bill would limit payments to $70,000 per farm per year and is estimated to save over $1 billion over the next ten years.
Crop insurance premium subsidies are currently unlimited and are provided regardless of the farmers’ level of need. The Government Accountability Office has reported that large farms receive a significant portion of total premium subsidy expenses, and individual farmers have received over a million dollars in premium subsidies in a single year.
As we reported previously, the 2014 Farm Bill failed to include either a cap on premium subsidies or a means-testing requirement for crop insurance subsidy recipients. At the same time, the 2014 Farm Bill increased spending on federal crop insurance, estimated to cost roughly $90 billion dollars over the next decade.
Given the rapidly escalating costs to taxpayers of the federal crop insurance program and the negative impact unlimited subsidies have on family farms and the environment, it is critical that the farm safety net return to being just that, a safety net, not a blank check to underwrite farm consolidation.