A coalition of more than 40 agricultural groups and stakeholders on Tuesday sent letters to the Senate and House agriculture committees urging support for the crop insurance program.
"Last year's widespread crop losses clearly demonstrate the need for crop insurance protection delivered by the private sector," said Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau Chairman Greg Mills of ADM Risk Services.
"Farmers, their lenders and suppliers, and stakeholders from across the industry agree that the program must remain a viable, affordable tool for managing risk," he said.
The groups – which include the National Corn Growers, American Soybean Association, and the American Farm Bureau Federation – said crop insurance is the cornerstone of most farmers' risk portfolios.
"Crop insurance helps protect farmers and ranchers of all sizes from losses that are beyond their control," CIRB Executive Vice President Michael Torrey said. "Despite record drought, farmers were back in the fields without additional assistance, thanks to crop insurance."
The letter also opposes any changes to crop insurance that would discourage producer participation or undermine private sector delivery.
"The public-private partnership of program delivery works very well, allowing for timely and outstanding service to producers when they need it the most and providing much needed jobs across rural America," the letter said.
Despite the showing of support from several ag groups, crop insurance critics say the program has become a burden on taxpayers. Last week, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn., introduced companion bills in the House and Senate that call for crop insurance reorganization.
In a statement regarding the introduction, Rep. Duncan said, "in a time of record deficits and an incomprehensible $16.5 trillion in debt, this program can no longer be justified in its current form."