The 2014 farm bill is now law, and one opinion is that it marks a major shift for agriculture. Tom Zacharias is president of National Crop Insurance Services and he says when the bill is implemented it will turn the page in risk management for America’s farmers from an age of direct payments to an age of crop insurance policies purchased by individual farmers and tailored to their specific needs and risk tolerance.
“While this farm bill was being debated farmers voted with their pocketbooks regarding their top choice for risk management, and that vote was crop insurance. Crop insurance protected 90 percent of crop land in 2013, a number which has steadily risen over time.”
“We heard from the grassroots that crop insurance was their number one priority, so that’s when we went to work and started working on concepts and then a piece in title 1 that would complement crop insurance for a multi-year loss over several years. So we know we’re going from a time of high prices into low prices and this will give farmers a chance to adjust to that and look at their inputs and have time to make some changes in their operations. It gives them some great risk management tools.”
Johnson is the NCGA Past President and current Chair of the Corn Board.
Zacharias says the crop insurance industry knows the eyes of the nation are upon it and the continued vitality and stability of America’s agriculture sector are to no small degree in its hands.
“The industry fully understands the responsibility we carry as the primary risk management tool. We feel blessed to be in this position and are fully committed to improve the integrity of the program, develop new policies for crops that currently are not covered, and deliver first rate service to our farmer customers.”
He notes that the popularity of crop insurance, with strong support among farmers, ranchers, farm leaders, bankers and members of Congress, is based on one key reason: it works.