Stabenow Condemns Crop Insurance Changes

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow recently came out against changes to the crop insurance program contained in the current Senate version of the 2012 Farm Bill, claiming that she did not think amendments to that program would pass.

The current emphasis on crop insurance was a bone offered to the farm sector in exchange for the elimination of direct payment farm subsidies. Eliminating direct payments would save about $5 billion a year. Given the current economic situation and the austerity fever gripping Washington, it was no longer politically feasible to maintain those payments.

Current crop insurance proposals are facing a series of objections. One amendment, strongly supported by environmental groups, would require conservation compliance in order to qualify for insurance subsidies. The elimination of direct payment subsides (which are currently linked to conservation requirements and compliance) could pose a serious ecological threat, one that this amendment hopes to eliminate. Stabenow, however, stated that she opposes regulations that could discourage farmers from signing up for crop insurance.

Another proposed crop insurance amendment came from Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, who suggested requiring farmers making more than $750,000 to pay more for coverage. His amendment would also cut premium subsidies by 15 percent. “There is no other business in this country where you’re guaranteed that your revenue and profit will be there,” Coburn said.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer