"The Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 1999," H.R. 2559, which improves producer coverage and flexibility in the federal crop insurance program, will be finalized in the U.S. House Agriculture Committee next Tuesday, July 27. The measure was approved by voice vote early this afternoon by the Subcommittee on Risk Management.
Subcommittee Chairman Tom Ewing (R-IL) predicted the U.S. House of Representatives would pass the bill in early August, and praised the leadership of Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-TX) and the contributions of members of the subcommittee and its Ranking Member Gary Condit (D-CA).
"This bipartisan effort to address strengthening of the producer safety net has been admirable," said Rep. Ewing. "Our work on this bill will now be evaluated by the full Committee in terms of budget costs and producer priorities."
Chairman Combest noted the supportive contributions of subcommittee members in their acceptance of the legislation. "We have made a good beginning from today's subcommittee work. Producers will have noticeable improvements to their crop insurance in time for the coverage of the fall crop," said Combest. "I am much more interested in rewarding production and basing coverage on the productive capability of farmers and ranchers, not on bureaucratic formulas. As we address the outcome of the markets and production on this year's harvest, today's crop insurance improvements will offer producers better risk management choices for the coming crop year."
The crop insurance measure noticeably improves the current risk management structure with better coverage for both production and revenue in the next crop year:
Affordable coverage at every level, with strong incentives to purchase higher levels of protection, and new flexibility for producers to choose the level of coverage that best meets their needs
More affordable policies to protect farmers against price and income loss, in addition to production loss
Encouragement of greater flexibility and diversity of coverage by expanding policy development and providing incentives for the creation of new policies
Insurance levels better reflected in production capacity by limiting reductions in production history and permitting all farmers the opportunity to drop 1 to 2 years of low yields
Introduction of a livestock pilot program to test the effectiveness of risk management tools to protect livestock producers
Strong compliance and enforcement provisions against fraud, waste and abuse through substantial sanctions for violations, providing monitoring by the Farm Service Agency