Wisconsin Congressmen Want To Cap Public Crop Insurance
By Steve Roisum
Friday, May 17, 2013, 4:32pm
Two Wisconsin congressmen want to help cap how much taxpayers pay to insure farmers.
Farmers can apply for coverage from private crop insurance companies. But the U.S. government still kicks in $9 billion every year to help cover additional expenses, including reimbursing those companies' administrative and operating costs. Tom Petri (R-Wisc) and Ron Kind (D-Wisc) have introduced an amendment for the next farm bill to lighten the taxpayers load. The legislation is called the Assisting Family Farmers Through Insurance Reform Measure, or the AFFIRM ACT.
Kind says the federal crop insurance program in place is fiscally irresponsible. "Our fear is that by loading up the current crop insurance program the way it is right now, it is virtually taking all risk out of planting decisions."
Kind and Petri say their bill would, among other things, require private insurance companies to cover the riskier policies. Also, most farmers would not receive more than $40,000 a year in federal crop insurance subsidies.
The bill has its critics: The Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau is a national trade association based in Washington, D.C. In a written statement, executive vice president Michael Torrey says the proposed cuts and scale-backs in the AFFIRM ACT would rob farmers of important risk management funding.
The U.S. House is expected to vote on the AFFIRM ACT in June. Currently the bill has seven other co-sponsors from both parties.