This week, Congress sent the final Farm Bill to President Obama’s desk, recognizing the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) as the central risk management tool for farmers and ranchers.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed the Conference Report to S.954, “The Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013,” in a 68-32 vote. The House passed the legislation in a 251-166 vote on Jan. 29, and the president is expected to sign the bipartisan legislation into law in the near future.
After almost two years of deliberation, the Senate and House were finally able to reach a consensus on a five-year bill. The long-term agreement is a complete overhaul of the current Farm Bill polices, saving taxpayers $23 billion over 10 years by ending the Direct Payment Program for commodities and finding savings within the food stamp (SNAP) program. The FCIP will not have payment limits, but will be tied to conservation compliance.
Opposing payment limits for the FCIP was a central goal for the Big “I” as the Farm Bill proceeded through the legislative process. The association strongly advocated that farmers should have the ability to purchase adequate coverage for their farmland and was pleased when, after much negotiation, the Senate and House finally reached consensus on a long-term bill that did not include payment limits to premium subsidies.
The Big “I” has been a vocal advocate on behalf of the FCIP and was instrumental is ensuring that crop insurance agents and their clients can continue to rely on this important program.
Jen McPhillips is Big “I” senior director of federal government affairs.