Thousands of farmers plant and tend crops each spring while facing countless seeds of doubt: The possibility of ravenous insects, gale-force winds or other disasters is rarely far from their minds.
To sleep at night, many purchase crop insurance to help their fields and families survive crop catastrophes.
This fall, the current farm bill is set to expire. Without vocal support for crop insurance from voters, this risk management tool could be weakened by proposals from its critics.
In a recent opinion piece for Morning Consult, Mike Day, head of crop insurance provider RCIS, which is part of Zurich, writes that the consequences of those proposals could affect not just farmers but also jobs, the food on our tables and our economy.
To get a sense of how, Day looks back to the 1980s, when far fewer acres of farmland were insured. If a natural catastrophe ravaged fields, Congress passed an ad hoc relief package. Such packages cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and payments to farmers came too late to be useful.
“I was a claims adjuster at this time and shared the view of farmers, rural communities and Congress that we needed a change,” Day recalls.
Through congressional efforts, crop insurance became more affordable and available for agricultural producers of all sizes and across all regions. Day cites some benefits that grew from expanded coverage, which are four reasons to support crop insurance now:
- Crop insurance provides lenders the ability to extend credit to farmers to produce the food, fiber, feed and fuel our families and economy need to thrive.
- Insured farmers have the confidence to invest in equipment and technologies to compete in the global market.
- The federal government shares risk with crop insurers and shares costs with farmers, so that taxpayers aren’t footing the whole bill.
- Crop insurers and agents work to deliver aid after disasters more efficiently and with less waste than the government can.
Because of its contributions to a healthy economy, today crop insurance protects around 90 percent of insurable land and more than 130 kinds of crops. Day wants to keep those numbers, and our economy, going strong.
Learn more about Zurich’s advocacy on the farm bill