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Farm Safety Net

Farm Safety Net

Farmer in Corn FieldThe conservation, crop insurance and commodity titles of the farm bill have lots to do with keeping farmers in business.

However, the existing farm safety net programs need reform: it’s time to change programs that were designed for agriculture decades ago while working toward programs that better serve farmers and taxpayers. While the safety net is necessary, in this time of scarce budget resources we must ensure the right role for government in risk management, understand when the government should get involved at the farm level, and clarify the principles that should guide our agricultural policies and programs.

Today, farm policy is clearly evolving toward one guiding principle: government support should help farmers manage risks that are beyond their control. A crop insurance system has developed over decades to help producers manage risks that are specific to individual farms. Though this system is always improving, significant gaps and vulnerabilities remain if we rely on this as the only risk management tool.

A modern farm safety net needs to complement crop insurance—rather than duplicate it—while also saving taxpayers significant amounts of money. Proposals to do so will provide tens of billions of dollars in savings. Farm support programs must also be responsive to markets, require accountability, and minimize distortion.

Finally, we recommend maintaining basic environmentally-based accountability provisions in the farm safety net by reattaching conservation compliance to crop insurance and modernizing the enforcement.

Agenda 2013 Priorities

Policy Resource Library

 

Voices for Change

We need to basically bring ourselves together, converge our thoughts, our minds, our resources, in terms of where we want to be with agriculture in this country utilizing the tools that a federal government might bring together — to start really very seriously preparing ourselves for an exciting process that is ultimately a plan for the agricultural future of this country. — AG Kawamura, former California Secretary of Agriculture and co-chair of Solutions From the Land

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    We need to basically bring ourselves together, converge our thoughts, our minds, our resources, in terms of where we want to be with agriculture in this country utilizing the tools that a federal government might bring together — to start really very seriously preparing ourselves for an exciting process that is ultimately a plan for the agricultural future of this country. — AG Kawamura, former California Secretary of Agriculture and co-chair of Solutions From the Land