Action Alert: Senate Vote on Farm Bill Expected This Week
After the Senate Ag Committee reported a bipartisan farm bill to the full Senate by a near-unanimous vote on June 13, the Senate is expected to vote on it very soon. While the committee bill is positive, we do know of at least two harmful amendments that have been filed. 

Durbin-Grassley Amendment #3103
Senator Grassley has joined forces with Senators Durbin (and Flake) on the amendment to impose AGI limits on crop insurance, and the amendment is being referred to as Durbin-Grassley. It’s amendment #3103 and can be viewed by clicking the link below. The intent is to reduce the premium subsidy by 15 points for insured’s with an AGI in excess of $700,000. This change would increase grower paid premium for those affected by up to 45%.  

Durbin-Grassley AGI Limit Example:
Shaheen-Flake Amendment #3138
The other amendment has been filed by Senators Flake and Shaheen (#3138). This amendment would put in place a cap of $125,000 for the premium discount a producer or entity can receive in one year. These caps hit high value crops and higher risk regions of the country first.

Caps impact every producer who purchases crop insurance. As limitations are placed on the discounts for crop insurance, farmers will buy less crop insurance or not buy it at all. The impact will be largest for lower risk farmers, crops and regions. That will change the “risk pool.” As the pool becomes more risky, the premiums for every farmer in that risk pool are likely to increase.
Action Alert
Please reach out to your Senators or the Agricultural Legislative Assistant and ask them to:
  1. Oppose any amendments that are harmful to crop insurance; and
  2. Vote in line with the leaders of the Senate Ag Committee – Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow.
House Passes 2018 Farm Bill
The House has passed the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) on a vote of 213-211. The Senate is now working on the procedural steps to bring its version of the Farm Bill (Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) to the floor.

Once the House and Senate pass their version of the farm bill, representatives from each chamber will work on a final version that must be approved by both the House and the Senate before it's sent to the President for review.
2019 Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) Endorsement
RMA has published the 2019 Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) Endorsement which provides coverage for a portion of the deductible of the underlying crop insurance policy. RMA updated the endorsement to give producers more flexibility, along with more opportunity to manage total premium cost.

Summary of Changes
  • Beginning with the 2019 crop year, producers will have an option to reduce the liability of the SCO Endorsement by a percentage selected on or before the sales closing date.
  • The election will be referred to as a “coverage percentage” and will be elected from a range of 50 percent to 100 percent, with a default value of 100 percent.
  • The liability of the SCO Endorsement will be multiplied by the coverage percentage when determining the guarantee and premium of the Endorsement.
  • Language pertaining exclusively to winter wheat in the 2015 crop year will also be removed from the SCO Endorsement in the revised policy.
RMA Informational Memorandum
PM-18-032: Margin Protection Plan of Insurance - Modifications Effective for 2019 and Succeeding Crop Years

RMA has revised the Margin Protection (MP) Plan of Insurance for the 2019 crop year, as follows:
  • Clarified that the base policy must be at an additional level of coverage;
  • Clarified that the High-Risk Coverage Endorsement and Catastrophic Risk
  • Protection Endorsement are allowed on the base policy, but those acres cannot be covered under MP;
  • Modified the termination date for Corn, Soybeans, and Wheat;
  • Clarified production reporting requirements when Margin Protection is purchased as a standalone policy versus with an underlying base policy; and
  • Included minor corrections and clarifications.

RMA's Margin Protection web page has new versions of the:
  • MP Insurance Standards Handbook
  • MP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  • MP Policy Provisions
  • MP Price Provisions
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