13 Senators Call for Support to Underserved ProducersA blog post yesterday by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) calls attention to a letter delivered by thirteen Senators to Senate Farm Bill Conferees calling for farm insurance provisions in the farm bill more inclusive of beginning farmers. Excerpt: Thirteen Senators have delivered a letter to Senate Farm Bill Conferees calling for a final farm bill to include provisions that will help make crop insurance appropriate and accessible for a wider range of producers. In the letter, the Senators stress that: Specialty crop growers, organic producers, diversified operations, and young and beginning farmers, who have traditionally been underserved by federal crop insurance, deserve access to affordable and sufficient risk management tools that are on par with what is available for commodity producers . . . [I]t is important to prioritize and support federal crop insurance products that address these underserved commodities, inadequate coverage, and low participation. The letter highlights the need for a whole farm revenue insurance product for diversified farms because the current system of insuring crop-by-crop does not work for highly diversified operations, including many sustainable and organic farms. Both the Senate and House farm bills direct USDA to establish a whole farm revenue product that will work for a wide range of diversified operations, be available nationwide, and include a crop and enterprise diversification bonus.
The letter also supports a provision in both the House and Senate farm bills that would restores the Risk Management Agency’s authority to conduct research and development activities to improve existing products and develop new ones.
Joining Senator Merkley (D-OR) on the letter were Senators Al Franken (D-MN), Carl Levin (D-MI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Kirsten GIllibrand (D-NY).