The Budget Agreement unveiled earlier this week includes an all-out attack on rural America and the Federal Crop Insurance Program.
Both Chairman Conaway (R-TX) and Ranking Member Peterson (D-MT) are working diligently to prevent it from taking place. The letter below is being circulated by the Chairman and Ranking Member and outlines the bad policy, precedent, and process of the proposed crop insurance language.
We need Congressman Fortenberry to sign this letter as soon as possible!
Please ask him to contact the representatives below to have his name added to the list. Currently, 44 members have signed the letter including Nebraska Rep. Adrian Smith (unfortunately, Rep. Brad Ashford will not sign as of now).
Call Congressman Fortenberry in Washington - 202-225-4806, Lincoln 402-438-1598, Norfolk 402-379-2064, Fremont 402-727-0888 - and urge him to contact the following to sign onto the letter (quoted below):
It has come to our attention that the "Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015" contains a provision that violates our pledge not to reopen the 2014 Farm Bill and would inflict serious injury on America's farmers and ranchers at a time when net farm income is projected to be down by 53 percent over the past two years.
Section 201 of the bill is widely expected to end Federal Crop Insurance, which is critical to producers and lenders alike.
Specifically, the provision proposes to reduce rates of return to crop insurance companies from a gross of about 14.5 percent down to a gross of 8.9 percent. However, this does not tell the real story. Since 2011 actual returns to companies have averaged about 5 percent, and factoring in costs, the average returns are much closer to zero. The reduction contained in section 201 would kill private sector delivery which is responsible for the success of Federal Crop Insurance.
Not even two years have passed since we made a commitment with the passage of a bipartisan 5-year farm bill that included $23 billion in savings. The current Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015 breaks that promise.
Nobody consulted the Agriculture Committees of Congress when this provision was included in the bill, the details of which were not posted until the early morning hours of Tuesday, October 27. Instead, a reckless provision of devastating consequences was quite literally inserted in a backroom in the middle of the night.
This provision must be removed from the bill. If it is not stripped from the bill, we will have no choice but to work to defeat this measure.
Chairman K. Michael Conaway Ranking Member Collin Peterson"
Call Carol McClelland at the IIAN office with questions - 1-800-377-3985.