Vince Smith, a Montana State U. agricultural economist, said there is no social justification for crop insurance subsidies. He said the subsidies encourage high risk behavior in farming, place incentives to remove land from the Conservation Reserve Program and use taxpayer money to fund administrative costs for private insurance companies.

The Heritage Foundation and other conservative think tanks have published strong criticisms of the House bill in an effort to convince conservative Republicans to oppose it.

A huge coalition of agriculture and agribusiness organizations, including the NCC, sent a letter to each US Representative applauding the House Committee on Agriculture for expeditiously moving forward on a five-year farm bill but cautioning that failure to pass such a bill before September's end would mean continued uncertainty for farmers, ranchers and their rural communities.

The letter stated that the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013 (H.R. 1947) achieves spending cuts that reduce the federal budget deficit, saving taxpayers $40 billion, including $6 billion through sequestration. It also repeals or consolidates more than 100 programs administered by USDA, including direct payments to crop producers. Without passage of FARRM, no budget savings will be achieved beyond sequestration.

The letter, which also noted the farm bill promotes an economically healthy US agriculture sector, said the bill’s policies serve a variety of purposes including: meeting the food, fuel and fiber needs of consumers worldwide; providing a farm and natural resource safety net; improving our balance of trade through trade promotion programs; promoting rural development; and creating needed jobs here at home.

“We stand united in our strong support for a new five-year bill and commend the House Committee on Agriculture for advancing a bill for timely action by the full House,” the coalition stated. “Failure to pass a five-year farm bill before the end of September would mean continued uncertainty for farmers, ranchers and their rural communities; it would also mean that American taxpayer would see none of the budget savings achieved.”


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