Bipartisan Proposal To Increase Access to Crop And Livestock Insurance Introduced

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Source: Congressman Randy Feenstra (R-IA) news release

Today, U.S. Reps. Randy Feenstra (R-IA) and Angie Craig (D-MN) introduced the Crop Insurance for Future Farmers Act, which would equip new producers, beginning farmers, and our veterans in the Midwest and nationwide with the crop insurance protections they need to be productive, profitable, and successful.

More specifically, this legislation would align the definition of “Beginning Farmer” to match most other beginning-farmer programs, extending crop and livestock insurance protections to ten years for new and beginning farmers. This increase to 10 years would apply to all federal crop insurance programs, including livestock policies.

The current definition constitutes only five years of enhanced crop insurance protections.

“In my conversations with Iowa farmers and producers on my Feenstra Agriculture Tour and my discussions with my 60-member Agriculture Advisory Board, I have repeatedly heard that a robust crop insurance program is the top priority for our agriculture community in this year’s Farm Bill. These same producers are extremely concerned – as am I – that our young farmers face major hurdles to succeed in today’s bleak economy. As inflation breaks records, interest rates increase, and economic uncertainty persists, it is exceedingly difficult for the next generation of producers to enter the farming community and make a good living,” said Rep. Feenstra.

“Serving as Iowa’s voice on the House Agriculture Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, I am proud to introduce commonsense legislation that extends vital crop and livestock insurance protections to new, beginning, and veteran farmers to lower their insurance payments for their first ten years in business.

I am confident that this investment in the next generation of producers will pay dividends for our economic vitality, grow our rural communities, and keep Iowa farmland in the hands of Iowa farmers where it rightfully belongs. My Crop Insurance for Future Farmers Act helps secure the future of our agricultural and rural communities by keeping farmland in the hands of Iowa farmers and helping our farmers succeed.”

“We’ve got to do a better job at helping new farmers build successful operations, and that starts with better crop insurance protections,” said Rep. Craig. “I’m proud of the bipartisan work Rep. Feenstra and I are doing to strengthen the farm safety net and ensure we’re preparing the next generation of family farmers.”

“I would like to express the strong support of America’s farmer co-ops for the Crop Insurance for Future Farmers Act being introduced by Representatives Feenstra and Craig,” said Chuck Conner, President and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. “Crop insurance is a critical risk management tool for farmers across the country and this bill contains important reforms to help the next generation of producers effectively utilize the program. We look forward to continuing to work on ways to expand the reach of crop insurance and urge the House Agriculture Committee to include this legislation in the 2023 farm bill.”

“Empowering young producers to enhance their crop insurance coverage is the most meaningful way to provide a stronger safety net during their most vulnerable years,” said William Cole, Chairman of the Crop Insurance Professionals Association. “With an estimated 40% of farmers and ranchers expecting to phase out their operations in the next two decades, the Crop Insurance Professionals Association (CIPA) is grateful for Congressman Feenstra’s support for the next generation of American producers. If we in America are to continue to enjoy the safest, most abundant, most affordable food supply in the world, then we have to ensure that the next generations are willing to take on the extraordinary risks of farming and ranching.”

“Farm Credit thanks Representatives Feenstra and Craig for their work on breaking down barriers for beginning farmers and ranchers to succeed,” said Todd Van Hoose, President and CEO of the Farm Credit Council. “At Farm Credit, we are committed to supporting the next generation of farmers and ranchers, and the Crop Insurance for Future Farmers Act will allow beginning farmers and ranchers to better manage their risks.”

“Providing affordable and flexible risk management solutions for as many American farmers and ranchers as possible is a critical goal of crop insurance,” said Ron Rutledge, immediate past Chairman of the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau and the Chairman of the Board of Farmers Mutual Hail. “We applaud Representatives Feenstra and Craig for their bipartisan leadership towards ensuring crop insurance is a more affordable tool for those just getting their foothold in the industry, including veterans and the next generation of farmers and ranchers.”

“For beginning farmers and ranchers to be successful, they must be able to manage risk,” said Johnathan Hladik, Policy Director of the Center for Rural Affairs. “This legislation helps them do so by correcting long-standing inconsistencies within the Federal Crop Insurance Program.”

According to recent estimates, 34% of all U.S. producers were over the age of 65, while only 8% were younger than the age of 35, which means that approximately 40% of farmland is expected to transfer hands over the next two decades.