January 22, 2020

Farm Bill; Ag Economy; Trade; and MF Global

Farm Bill Issues

On yesterday’s AgriTalk radio program with Mike Adams, the topic of crop insurance was a featured part of a discussion with David Graves, the Manager and Secretary of the American Association of Crop Insurers.

To listen to a portion of this conversation with Mike Adams and David Graves, just click here (MP3- 7:57).

During yesterday’s discussion, Dr. Graves explained that, “We now have arrived at a point where a lot of people are pleased with the program, but it doesn’t mean that is the end of the road.  There are still opportunities to have the program continue to grow and expand.

“We are aware, specialty crops is an example, have a lot of questions about how it can be extended to them in a more effective way.  Crops such as peanuts and rice continue to look at it.  I think it is one of those situations where at this juncture, we believe the old phrase, ‘Do no harm,’ should be the order of the day.”

Dr. Graves added that, “The job is not finished, we have come a long way; the program has paid out over $10 billion in indemnities this year without Congress having to fight through ad hoc disaster assistance battles.  The moneys were made available to farmers in a very, very short period of time- often as little time as two or three weeks.”

AgriTalk host Mike Adams noted that the executive branch budget proposal for the next fiscal year contained reductions to the crop insurance program.  Dr. Graves pointed out that, “Everything that is included in this administration’s budget proposal this time around is of great concern.  But, as we all know, these proposals are not new; they have been advanced by this administration in previous years, and frankly, Mike, many of these ideas have been advanced by other administrations in years gone by.

It is almost as if, invoking an old term we used back in my early days of computer programing, as though the administration is stuck in a ‘do loop.’  And for those who tried to write programing they will understand what that means- you get on a path and you just cannot get off.  They are stuck with this general idea that there needs to be something done about the federal budget and that agriculture has got to contribute every time around, and they can’t seem to shed themselves of that simplistic idea.”

The AgriTalk conversation also turned to issues regarding crop insurance premiums and participation, (Related audio, (MP3- 3:25)), as well as to a look at changes in the program for this year (Related audio, (MP3- 0:58)).