Crop Insurance a Potential Target

Crop insurance programs may be a tempting target to lawmakers looking to trim the federal budget in the last four weeks of the lame duck session, some political insiders believe.

For the past several months, farmers have desperately pleaded with Congress to hold debates on the 2012 Farm Bill. Without the bill, they argued, farmers could lose access to vital farm subsidies, could lose disaster protections, and would not have a blueprint to help plan for upcoming crop cycles.

With the 2012 election over, farmers may be getting their wish. Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas have both hinted that the House will consider the farm bill in the lame duck session. However, this consideration may be a double edged sword for many farmers.

The reason for some apprehension is the congressional focus on the upcoming fiscal cliff. With lawmakers desperate to trim nearly $2 trillion from the federal budget, some legislators may turn to farm programs, particularly expensive crop insurance programs.

Thanks to the recent drought, crop insurance payments are expected to reach record highs. Some lawmakers may see cutting crop insurance spending as a way to reduce ballooning deficits, but many farmers report that they are only in business thanks to crop insurance payments.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer