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Mike's Blog

Insights from the President of ProAg

Friday Farm Bill Update

by Mike Connealy on 05.24.2013

The U.S. Senate is on holiday until June 3rd. At that time, the 2013 Farm Bill is likely to be taken up quickly and moved forward with amendments leading to a final vote within a couple of days on S.954 as amended. We know there are still potentially harmful amendments to crop insurance to be debated and voted upon. We will be diligent in tracking these with “action alerts” as votes are taken. This blog will be “at ease” until early next week to ponder our next moves. One can be sure that the EWG will be working on their predictable  mis-information campaign on the crop insurance program  and we will need to continue to be diligent in countering their rhetoric with the actual facts.

Thus far, on the Senate floor, the crop insurance industry has been successful on our issues with the exception of the Durbin-Coburn means test – which was agreed to by a 59-33 vote. This was not exactly a shock, since it was agreed to by a 66-33 vote last year. ProAg does not believe the means test for high income growers can be effectively administered in order to limit subsidy to high income growers that might be able to get by with less premium subsidy.  

The actual link to the Durbin-Coburn amendment is included at the end of this paragraph.  What is included in the amendment language is basically  an ”idea” and gives little in the way of detail on how to administer the rule should it survive intact for the final Farm Bill. For instance, my guess is that CAT premium subsidy for the “targets” goes from 100% to 85%, but this is only my educated guess. The marginally informed people that drafted this amendment apparently assume that all growers, for all crops, have reason to make regular visits to FSA offices. They do this while again apparently dragging along their most recent tax returns. One positive note, Senators Durbin and Coburn are also both quite optimistic about a fast moving Farm Bill as all this “means test” is to be effective for the 2014 reinsurance year. Durbin-Coburn amendment language here.

One more MC prediction, at least one of the Durbin-Coburn duo will vote against passing the final Farm Bill despite having taken the time to debate various topics and throw a wrench into the crop insurance program machinery via this means test. 

Any questions or comments are welcome by leaving a comment below.

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