Roberts: crop insurance cuts need to be stopped

Senate Ag Committee Chair Pat Roberts (R-KS) at the Western Farm Show, Kansas City, Feb. 20, 2015.The Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee says cutting crop insurance subsidies is a non-starter, but the Kansas Republican also expresses the need to convince detractors that the risk management tool has value.

Senator Pat Roberts says there are people who believe that crop insurance subsidies should be reformed, which he says is the nice way to describe a cut.

“Usually they want the money for something else,” Roberts told Brownfield Ag News at the Western Farm Show in Kansas City Friday, “either that or they just do not feel that farmers ought to have subsidized crop insurance.”

During the 400 days of farm bill debate, Roberts says constituent feedback indicated that risk management should be a major part of the farm bill commodity title.

“Every farmer I talked to said ‘my number one priority is do what you can to save and improve crop insurance,” said Roberts

Roberts says Obama budget writers see crop insurance subsidies as low hanging fruit where money can be saved.

“We’re determined to educate these folks to the value of crop insurance; that’s going to be an ongoing effort, but that’s the way it’s been for years,” said Roberts.  “We’re going to put that down as a top priority.”

The revenue side of the Obama budget proposal includes an increase in estate taxes, which Roberts also opposes.  Roberts spoke at the Western Farm Show in Kansas City.

AUDIO: Pat Roberts (5 min. MP3)

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