House Farm Bill Amendments Attack Crop Insurance

The House version of the Farm Bill, which is expected to have floor time this week, made its way through mark up last week which resulted in 103 amendments, several of which aim to make significant changes to the crop insurance programs.

“Amendment topics include the usual controversial proposals on capping crop insurance premium subsidies, means testing for the program, changing the sugar program, etc.,” says Jim Wiesemeyer Pro Farmer policy analyst.

An amendment from Reps. Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) , “caps spending on Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs at 110% of CBO-predicted levels for fiscal years 2021 through 2025.”

Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL) aims to simplify the program with his amendment, which “streamlines the sign up process for Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) by directing the Secretary of Agriculture to change the regulatory requirements from an annual sign up to a “˜one and done”™ process for ARC and PLC only.”

An amendment from Reps. Mark Sanford (R-SC) and Ron Kind (D-WI), “lowers the Profit Margin that Crop Insurance Companies are guaranteed referred to as the “˜Target Rate”™ of return from 14.5% to 12%.”

An amendment from Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) “reduces crop insurance premium subsidies for insurance policies by 15 percentage points, except for catastrophic level of coverage.”

Two representatives want subsidies to be public record. The amendment from Reps. Kind and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), “allows for public disclosures of crops insurance premium subsidies.”

Rep. Kind also wants to remove cotton from the Title 1 insurance programs. Another amendment from him “makes cotton ineligible for the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs under Title 1 and returns cotton to the Stacked Income Protection Program (Stax).”

Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) wants tobacco farmers to pay for their own insurance. His amendment “amends the federal crop Insurance act to prohibit the Department of Agriculture from subsidizing crop insurance premiums for tobacco. Any saving that occur as a result of this bill must be deposited in the Treasury and used for deficit reduction.”

An amendment from Rep. Blumenauer “creates a payment limit of $125,000 a year for recipients of crop insurance premium subsidies.”

Reps. Keith Rothfus (R-PA), Kind and Sensenbrenner hope to “limit crop insurance subsidies to only those producers that have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $500,000 or less,” with their amendment.

Similarly, Rothfus and Kind want to “limit commodity and conservation assistance to only those producers that have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $500,000 or less.”

It”™s important to note that not all of these proposed changes will be approved.

“The Rules panel meets late Tuesday afternoon to set the terms of the farm bill debate, and again on Wednesday afternoon to decide which amendments can be considered on the House floor,” Wiesemeyer explains.