Once more we have a guest post from Larry Hodgden of Tipton. Larry is a retired Viet Nam era veteran of the USAF. He and his wife of 40 years, Sharon, have three children and seven grandchildren who keep him very busy. Family, education, church and politics have been a lifelong passion.
In 1938 Democrats and FDR as part of the Agricultural Adjustment Act created the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation(FCIC) in response to the “Dust Bowl” and the farm recession. The FCIC has undergone many changes throughout the years but has provided much needed assistance to farmers affected by natural disaster.
Because agriculture is such an important part of our economy, and no where is this more evident than in small rural towns, our Federal Government has developed many other farm programs throughout the years. Some of these programs have been more successful and popular than others but there are few farmers who have not benefited from at least one of them.
Crop Insurance as it stands today is voluntary; however farmers who choose not to purchase it waive their right to any other disaster assistance. An attempt was made to make it mandatory in the 90’s but was repealed which could be unfortunate for some farmers who didn’t purchase it this year.
In a nut shell, the FCIC sets a premium rate based on an area’s risk and then allows private insurance sources to sell an insurance policy to the farmer. The premium is subsidized by the FCIC to encourage participation. The farmer can insure his crop up to 85% of his yield history, of course the higher the percentage, the higher the premium. Thus the farmer is protected from crop and revenue loss when yields are less than the percentage insured.
Why should we care about this? Private insurers keep 20% of the premiums and get management fees from the FCIC while 80% of the premium and 80% of the loss risk is sold to the Risk Management Agency, a branch of the FCIC. Both of these are GOVERNMENT AGENCIES.
Currently our government through the USDA insures 264 million acres with 1.14 million policies and a total liability of 110 billion dollars. With the severe drought affecting so much of our agricultural production, hundreds of thousands of farmers will receive insurance payments to offset losses, including many Cedar County farmers. These payments will keep many farmers who are at risk of failure in business next year producing crops vital to our country’s economic strength.
This is but one of many vital GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS which help stabilize our economy and protect our businesses from catastrophic events. Programs which are continuously under attack by the Republican Party which threatens to eliminate these vital programs if we give them the opportunity.
The irony of this is that farmers have historically supported Republicans even while the Democrats promote and defend policies which have helped the farmers succeed. Everyone but especially farmers should think long and hard about their vote this fall and remember “The Next Disaster Could Be Yours.”