Farmers Trade Subsidies for Insurance

With the debate over the 2012 Farm Bill about to heat up, farmers are renewing the fight over direct farm payments and insurance programs.

With the recent austerity hysteria, Senators and Representatives have appeared more willing to end direct farm payments then they ever have before. Over the past few years, Congress has slashed funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture budgets, conservation programs, nutritional programs, and various farm subsidy programs.

With farm profits up over the last few years, many farmers are less willing to defend direct farm payments in the face of upcoming budget cuts. Instead, many American farmers are willing to trade away direct payments in order to protect safety net programs like crop insurance.

According to a spokesman for Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Agricultural Committee, “When asked to prioritize farm safety-net priorities, Colorado farmers have repeatedly told [Bennet] that direct payments take second place to strong crop insurance and disaster programs.”

Major farm advocacy groups share Bennet’s views. According to representatives from the Farm Bureau, “The Farm Bureau has moved toward endorsing more of a risk-management type policy and away from direct payments. We’re definitely willing to do our part, but we don’t want to be cut disproportional to other programs in the federal budget.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer