FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laura Zaks
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Release: Crop Insurance Bills Would Level the Playing Field, Save Taxpayers Billions
Washington, DC, September 26, 2023 – Today, the Assisting Family Farmers Through Insurance Reform Measures Act, or the AFFIRM Act, was introduced by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3). This bill presents important reforms to improve the federal crop insurance program to better serve U.S. farmers equitably and use taxpayer dollars more efficiently.
“The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has long supported provisions that will level the playing field for small, beginning, and diversified farms by introducing common-sense data transparency, payment limits, and means tests to the federal crop insurance program,” says Billy Hackett, NSAC Policy Specialist. “While private crop insurance companies and the largest, highest-income commodity farms benefit from an artificial, taxpayer-funded profit guarantee, 80 percent of farms cannot access insurance altogether.”
The AFFIRM Act includes a $125,000 annual cap to crop insurance premium discounts that would impact less than one percent of farms, an adjusted gross income means test, and a subsidized guaranteed profit rate for private insurance companies reduced from 14.5 percent to 8.9 percent. The Act would also require USDA to disclose information on the companies and farmers that receive subsidies to better account for billions of taxpayer dollars. Together, these reforms are projected to save up to $35 billion over 10 years.
“The cost of the federal crop insurance program has quietly tripled in three years, to $19.3 billion in 2023. That additional spending has not curbed prices at the grocery store for struggling Americans, nor has it included an expansion of the safety net to underserved farmers,” continued Hackett. “Program costs will only continue to grow without a shift in approach. Lawmakers serious about protecting both farmers and consumers, while reducing rising safety net costs, should invest in helping farmers diversify and adopt soil health practices that improve on-farm resilience against worsening floods, droughts, and storms.”
The federal crop insurance program is the most expensive program authorized in the farm bill, outside of nutrition. It is also the only major farm subsidy program without any payment limits or means tests that protect against wasting taxpayer dollars. These facts become especially relevant in a farm bill process where there is no new spending.
About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: https://sustainableagriculture.net