WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tomorrow, Congress is expected to take up a two-year budget bill in an effort to avert a government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. The deal would increase federal spending by $80 billion over two years and raise the federal borrowing limit through 2017. However, $3 billion in cuts to the federal crop insurance program were included as an offset.
The crop insurance provision would require a renegotiation of the Standard Reinsurance Agreement, the contract between insurance companies and the government. Federal crop insurance has been continually targeted for cuts since the 2008 Farm Bill against the recommendations of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.
USA Rice Vice President Ben Mosely shared his disappointment, saying, “As an important component of the farm safety net, crop insurance is a precarious area to find savings. Further cuts could jeopardize the private sector delivery of crop insurance.”
Mosely added, “I encourage rice farmers to voice their opposition to the crop insurance provisions within the budget deal to their representatives in Washington. Additional cuts to crop insurance delivery negates much of the hard work Congress put into passing a five-year Farm Bill last February.”