Wisconsin Congressman Looks to Reform Crop Insurance Through Farm Bill with AFFIRM Act

Wisconsin 3rd District Congressman Ron Kind is working with Wisconsin 6th District Congressman Tom Petri to reform U.S. crop insurance policies. They have introduced the Assisting Family Farmers through Insurance Reform Measures – or AFFIRM – Act. The act makes reforms to crop insurance premium subsidy payments, saves taxpayer dollars and promotes transparency.

According to Kind – the current crop insurance system is extremely wasteful and in need of reform…

“It’s become a huge price tag within the farm bill. Last year there was over $7 billion in payments, reflective of the drought conditions. There is an inordinate amount of the crop insurance premiums going to some very large agribusinesses at the expense of everyone else. Just 4% of the farmers out there are receiving over 35% of the crop insurance premiums. These are taxpayer subsidized premiums that will go out.”

The AFFIRM Act limits the total value of crop insurance subsidies to 40-thousand dollars per person each year and eliminates crop insurance premium subsidies for individuals with an adjusted gross income of more than 250-thousand dollars…

“This would be not only fiscally responsible, saving over one billion dollars per year, it would also put a little more risk back into farming. One concern with the higher commodity prices and the huge premium support that farmers get from taxpayers is the temptation to plant very highly erodible sensitive land which is not conducive to good yields because the farmer knows that if they don’t have good yields the tax payer will come in and pick up. Its always bad business to take all risk out, including farming.”

Kind says he’s trying to make the farm bill fiscally responsible – but also responsive to the needs of family farmers…

“The $40,000 cap would still provide coverage to the vast majority of family farms across the US. It is just a few agribusinesses that are above the cap to begin with.”

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