President Trump’s Budget Includes Needed Reforms to Crop Insurance, but Lacks Investment in Rural Communities & the Land
President Donald Trump’s proposed agriculture budget contains good and bad news for rural America. The good news is it moves forward positive reform on crop insurance. The bad news is it cuts many critical supports for rural America. The Land Stewardship Project (LSP) supports crop insurance reforms, but is calling on the Trump Administration to not propose cuts to programs for rural America at this critical time.
Crop Insurance Reform Needed
The federally subsidized crop insurance program is badly in need of reform, as it rewards the largest farmers the most and encourages an unstable farm economic system based on a few cash crops. We applaud President Trump’s effort to reform federally subsided crop insurance. Crop insurance is an essential tool for family farmers, yet its lack of limits and enforcement of conservation practices has made it a “give-away” to the largest farms and encourages farming practices that damage soil health and water quality. It also has been a major driver in making agriculture less diverse, which leaves farmers more vulnerable during this economic down-turn.
LSP believes that reforms to federally subsidized crop insurance should 1) provide a basic safety net without disproportionately benefiting the largest farms, 2) encourage and reward conservation practices, 3) include viable insurance options for diversified farms and beginning farmers, and 4) compensate insurance providers minimally and ensure transparency, rather than support a system where taxpayer dollars flow freely to insurance companies.
A Backwards Step for Rural America
While President Trump’s budget takes a leap forward in reforming federally subsidized crop insurance, it also dramatically cuts conservation payments for farmers, rural development grants and food safety programs. Rural American desperately needs investment, not more cuts. Farmers need help establishing conservation farming practices that increase soil health, improve water quality and ensure the profitability of their land for years to come. With agricultural economies struggling, rural families and business owners need a leg-up.
Farmers and rural America in general needs significant investment in initiatives that support a vibrant, family farm-based economy. Cuts to rural development, food programs and conservation payments do not support family farmers and rural communities. LSP is calling on the Trump Administration to take savings garnered from crop insurance reforms and invest them in rural America.