RMFU Expresses Opposition to Tying Conservation to Crop Insurance

In a letter to our six senators representing Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming, RMFU expressed strong opposition to a portion of the Senate draft of the farm bill that makes crop insurance dependent on complying with conservation requirements.

“This provision makes no sense,” said RMFU President Kent Peppler, a Mead, Colo., farmer. “It jeopardizes the farmer’s most valuable risk management tool. A farmer dealing with drought could suddenly find that his entire wheat crop is ruled uninsurable. That’s unfair and unreasonable. It ties two regulatory agencies together, both of them understaffed and underfunded. It’s such a burden that it’s likely to be selectively enforceable.”

The letter from RMFU also points out the almost covert second effect of the “Compliance” section of the Crop Insurance Title, the end of income caps for crop insurance. With no attempt to connect the two proposals, the Compliance provision also stipulates that there will no longer be caps on crop insurance based on adjusted gross income (AGI). “Crop insurance is meant to help small and medium-sized farm operations manage their risks,” Peppler said. “Capping the insurance subsidy at incomes above $750,000 has been a way to keep tax-loophole harvesters out of the fund. Removing that cap will channel millions of taxpayer dollars into the pockets of the nation’s wealthiest landowners.”

Peppler affirmed that RMFU will fight the cross-compliance provision all the way to the President Obama’s desk, if necessary. “So far,” Peppler said,  “there’s no amendment on the Senate floor to undo this thing. So we are supporting other amendments to preserve the AGI income cap, and we will urge the eventual conference committee to drop the cross-compliance provision. We are grateful to the House for not proposing to hobble farmers and open the federal treasury to further looting.”