Responding to a proposed $3 billion cut in crop insurance support as part of a larger budget deal, the American Soybean Association has issued a strong defense of the nation’s farm program and called on Congress to oppose any reopening of the farm bill.
ASA President Wade Cowan, a soybean farmer from Brownfield, Texas, noted that agriculture remains the only industry segment that has come forward and voluntarily accepted spending reductions, and urged lawmakers to seek cuts elsewhere:
“ASA absolutely opposes any effort by Congress to reopen any part of the farm bill as part of budget negotiations, and we implore lawmakers to reject any attempt to target crop insurance or any other farm bill programs for further cuts.
“Speaking frankly, our farm economy is simply not in the shape it was even three years ago when we began the process of writing the farm bill. Crop values are down almost 50 percent, and our farmers face volatile weather ranging from flooding in the Carolinas to drought in Texas and fires in California.
“Farmers need a stronger safety net, not a weaker one, and now is hardly the time to pull the rug out from under them by weakening the nation's investment in the crop insurance program.
“We stand with Chairmen Roberts and Conaway and Ranking Members Stabenow and Peterson in their defense of the 2014 farm bill and the critical safety net it provides farmers. Faced with the need to confront our nation’s budget responsibility, we worked alongside these committee leaders for three full years to craft a piece of farm legislation that strengthens our safety net and brings savings to the table.
“That’s more than can be said for any other industry sector. This burden is something that must be spread across the board, not shouldered unfairly by a select few.”