As policymakers, commodity leaders, and insurers gathered this week for the crop insurance industry’s annual convention, recent legislative changes to the federal crop insurance program was one of the top discussion topics.
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly known as the Farm Bill, included several provisions that strengthened crop insurance and solidified its position as an important risk management tool.
“Passing Congress with the largest margin of any farm bill in history, this legislation demonstrated that preserving the farm safety net is an issue that transcends partisan lines,” said National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) President Tom Zacharias. “We thank Capitol Hill for listening to rural America and working diligently to ensure that crop insurance remains affordable and widely available for our farmers and ranchers.”
The Farm Bill strengthened crop insurance by directing research for new products, promoting coverage for underserved producers, and improving the availability and workability of various insurance programs.
NCIS staff Troy Brady and Mickey Paggi outlined some of the most significant changes in a recent article for Crop Insurance TODAY magazine, noting that these provisions “will increase crop insurance’s role as a key component of farm policy.”
Notable provisions included:
- Improvements to the Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) policy that will provide more meaningful risk protection, especially for small and beginning farmers.
- Additional research on topics including new irrigation practices, existing citrus fruit policies, and the development of policies to better address low-frequency, catastrophic losses due to weather events such as hurricanes.
- An annual review of research regarding the development of insurance for new crops and how to improve crop insurance coverage in existing programs.
“Speedy and accurate implementation will be important for farmers… as they look to their most important risk management tool to help rebound from the extreme weather and a slumping rural economy that plagued 2018,” the authors wrote.
NCIS will be working closely with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency to efficiently put the Farm Bill’s crop insurance provisions into action.