News

  • 10/27/2015 12:14 PM | Jill Whitley (Administrator)

    Last night we reported to you that crop insurance cuts were going to be included in a bill to raise the debt ceiling and also to establish a two year budget governing appropriations bills. We just were not sure what the cuts would look like.

    Late last night, the cuts were made public. In short, the provision in the bill would require a renegotiation of the Standard Reinsurance Agreement (SRA) – the contract between companies and the government – that would result in a cap on the rate of return equal to 8.9 percent. Keep in mind that we are told the current rate of return is about 14.5 percent gross and that this works out to be about 5 to 6 percent net. Further keep in mind that companies have already been selling out and more have been reported as considering doing so.

    All of you know that crop insurance muddled along from 1936 until 1980 when the private sector took over. Since then, with private sector delivery, crop insurance has taken off. The introduction of revenue policies in the mid-1990s and the 2000 crop insurance bill helped make crop insurance what it is today. The SRA of 2011 hit private sector delivery hard. At the time, USDA projected $6 billion in cuts. These cuts came after about $6 billion in cuts under the 2008 Farm Bill.

    Make no mistake, the cuts contained in the debt ceiling/budget agreement will kill Federal Crop Insurance.

    The provision is said to save $3 billion. We do not know if this figure is accurate. But, rather we would note two things.

    First, crop insurance has already been cut. And the Farm Bill was just cut to the tune of $23 billion. When this two year budget agreement wears off, are we to expect another round of cuts?

    Second, as angry as we are that they would come after crop insurance like this, we are more angry that they chose to go around the Ag Committees and choose the most devastating cuts they could think of. The Ag Committees could come up with $3 billion in savings that are not reckless and dangerous if they had to. There would be pain but they could do it more carefully. However, the White House and OMB chose this cut specifically, pressed for it, and it was accepted.

    The bill has been filed and is expected to be voted on tomorrow. That gives us today to yell like we’ve never yelled before. Everyone receiving this email needs to call their senators and their congressman and let them know in plain terms that by voting for this bill they are killing federal crop insurance.

    We recommend urging them to speak to their Leadership and urge that the provision be stripped out of the bill. At bare minimum, the provision must be stripped out and replaced with responsible savings developed by the Agriculture Committees. If the provision is not stripped out, we would urge you to call on your congressman and senators to oppose the bill and work for its defeat.

    Again, given the timing, we would urge that you contact the Agriculture LA by email by: going to http://capwiz.com/yo-demo/dbq/officials/. Enter the Congressman or Senator's name in the space provided and click go to find the Member. Then click on the staff tab to identify the Agriculture LA. The email format for House staffers is: firstname.lastname@mail.house.gov. For Senate staff it is firstname_lastname@senatorslastname.senate.gov, for example John Doe in Senator Smith’s office would be John_Doe@Smith.Senate.gov. We would also urge that you call the main telephone line and leave a similar message.

    In all of the years we have worked in Washington, we have never seen a more reckless move…and that is truly saying something.

    Please contact us with questions.

    The CSA Crew


  • 09/17/2015 10:28 AM | Jill Whitley (Administrator)

    Click here for Chairman Combest's Column titled "China's Market Manipulations Nothing New to America's Farmers."

  • 09/17/2015 9:18 AM | Jill Whitley (Administrator)
    On September 15th, Tom Sell presented at the Minnesota Crop Insurance Conference at the Verison Wireless Center in Mankato, Minnesota.  The Minnesota Crop Insurance Conference is one of the largest gatherings of crop insurance agents in the Midwest. Attendees will hear outstanding speakers address topics directly relevant to crop insurance agents and interact with over 650 other crop insurance agents.  Tom will be providing the Washington update, hitting themes familiar to CIPA agents.  You can see an old CIPA 1-pager with updated numbers that will be used here.


  • 07/27/2015 10:02 AM | Jill Whitley (Administrator)
    On Wednesday, July 22nd, the House Agriculture Committee hosted Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for an oversight hearing over a variety of issues. Avian Influenza was a hot topic. Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) commended Secretary Vilsack, saying the USDA’s handling of the issue “has helped restore confidence” within the industry. Other issues that were covered included  the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) information technology (MIDAS) project and the EPA’s WOTUS Rule. Secretary Vilsack said the EPA’s new WOTUS rule would likely result in “a lot of litigation and concern.” Read more about the hearing from the Hagstrom Report and AgriPulse


  • 07/09/2015 10:57 AM | Jill Whitley (Administrator)
    The two crop insurance amendments that were trotted out by the EWG — Rep. Pingree (D-ME) amendment to apply a $750,000 means test; and Rep. DeLauro (D-CT) amendment to require publication of insurance records — both failed by voice vote. An anti-sugar amendment was discussed and withdrawn. And an anti-cotton amendment also failed.  In addition to your calls, CIPA sent a letter on these matters which you can read here.


  • 07/08/2015 8:43 AM | Jill Whitley (Administrator)
    Click here to view CIPA's letter sent to Appropriations Member offices opposing amendments to the Agriculture Appropriations Bill.


  • 07/07/2015 3:00 PM | Jill Whitley (Administrator)

    Congress is right back into the swing of things, with only 4 weeks of work before the August recess.

    As noted before the break, the draft Agriculture Appropriations bill will be considered by the Full Committee tomorrow at 10:15 eastern.

    This is always an opportunity for opponents of agriculture to trot their amendments, and this year appears to be no exception.

    As of now, we are hearing from Committee staff that they are expecting 3 harmful amendments to crop insurance. They are:

    • Pingree AGI limits. This will limit availability to crop insurance based on AGI in excess of $750K.
    • DeLauro disclosure of individual farmer premium assistance on an individual farmer basis (EWG subsidy database for crop insurance).
    • Removal of the base language on conservation compliance (providing relief on penalty only for 2016) - no sponsor yet. 

    Members of the Full Appropriations Committee are printed below. If you have connections to any of these members (constituent or otherwise), please use them to contact and urge them to stand by our Nation's farmers, and vote against any anti-crop insurance amendments or other amendments that would undermine the important purposes of the Farm Bill (note: there may be an anti-sugar amendment; and another that would impede the marketing of cotton).

    If you need contact information for any of these offices, go to http://yo-demo.capwiz.com/yo-demo/directory/congdir.tt. Enter the Congressman’s name in the space provided and click go to find the Member. Then click on the staff tab to identify the Agriculture LA. Then click on the contact tab to learn the Congressman’s telephone number. You may call that number and ask for the Agriculture LA by name or you may also email the Agriculture LA using this email format: firstname.lastname@mail.house.gov.

    If you want or need more detail or back-up on any of these issues, just call us.

    There are other issues we will want to catch up with you on, but this item takes precedence.

    Thanks in advance for taking action.
    Sincerely,
    Tom Sell
    Cell: (806) 535-0093
    DC office: (202) 544-5873


    Committee Members

    Republicans

    • Harold Rogers, Kentucky, Chairman 
    • Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, New Jersey 
    • Robert B. Aderholt, Alabama 
    • Kay Granger, Texas 
    • Michael K. Simpson, Idaho 
    • John Abney Culberson, Texas 
    • Ander Crenshaw, Florida 
    • John R. Carter, Texas 
    • Ken Calvert, California 
    • Tom Cole, Oklahoma
    • Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida 
    • Charles W. Dent, Pennsylvania 
    • Tom Graves, Georgia 
    • Kevin Yoder, Kansas 
    • Steve Womack, Arkansas 
    • Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska 
    • Tom Rooney, Florida 
    • Chuck Fleischmann, Tennessee 
    • Jaime Herrera Beutler, Washington 
    • David Joyce, Ohio 
    • David Valadao, California 
    • Andy Harris, MD, Maryland 
    • Martha Roby, Alabama 
    • Mark Amodei, Nevada 
    • Chris Stewart, Utah 
    • Scott Rigell, Virginia 
    • David Jolly, Florida 
    • David Young, Iowa 
    • Evan Jenkins, West Virginia 
    • Steven Palazzo, Mississippi 

    Democrats

    • Nita M. Lowey, New York 
    • Marcy Kaptur, Ohio 
    • Peter J. Visclosky, Indiana 
    • José E. Serrano, New York 
    • Rosa L. DeLauro, Connecticut 
    • David E. Price, North Carolina 
    • Lucille Roybal-Allard, California 
    • Sam Farr, California 
    • Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania 
    • Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., Georgia 
    • Barbara Lee, California 
    • Michael M. Honda, California 
    • Betty McCollum, Minnesota 
    • Steve Israel, New York 
    • Tim Ryan, Ohio 
    • C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland 
    • Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida 
    • Henry Cuellar, Texas 
    • Chellie Pingree, Maine 
    • Mike Quigley, Illinois 
    • Derek Kilmer, Washington
  • 06/29/2015 10:25 AM | Jill Whitley (Administrator)

    We wanted to bring to your attention another op-ed penned by Chairman Combest that was published online at The Hill today. The article highlights what we consider to be a terrible misallocation of resources by libertarian groups who instead of fighting for something so basic as private property rights in the light of a huge land grab by the EPA, have instead said they will focus their energy on tearing down agriculture policy.

    The op-ed can be viewed here: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/energy-environment/246408-the-epas-big-land-grab. Please take some time to read and comment — and if you like it email, Facebook, and tweet to help promote and drive traffic to the article. Not only does it spread an important message, but also it helps ensure The Hill will continue to run posts defending agriculture. 


  • 06/24/2015 11:04 AM | Jill Whitley (Administrator)

    Tuesday, June 23rd was the day that comments on the Interim Final Rule on "Conservation Compliance" were due. CIPA submitted additional comments (available here) to supplement the group letter that was sent earlier this month (available here).

    In this new comment, we ask for 3 basic accommodations: (1) that FSA and RMA and NRCS reconcile their lists quickly and provide certainty as to who is in and who is out; (2) that the rule be altered to allow producers to restore eligibility if they come into compliance before a relevant SCD; and (3) that producers be allowed to alter or drop coverage if they are notified they are not in compliance after SCD.  We touch on other themes that support these 3 requests, but that is the essence.


  • 06/22/2015 3:48 PM | Jill Whitley (Administrator)

    We had a great week in DC with a great small group.  We had 14 CIPA members from some strategic regions across the country covering some significant ground, waving the banner for crop insurance generally, and speaking to issues of concern on the Hill right now.  

    We had more than 60 appointments with Members of the House and Senate and their staff, along with some key USDA, RMA, and FSA officials.  As you can see from the picture below, even by the third day, the group was holding up pretty well.  This picture was taken on the balcony of the House Agriculture Committee with Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) with the Capitol (under restoration) in the background.  

    Among the many issues discussed, CIPA fly-in participants expressed concern over conservation compliance and were very pleased to hear first-hand about the provision in the Agriculture Appropriations bill that would suspend any penalties, providing producers until June 30, 2016 to come into compliance while also offering USDA more time to get the rule right.  This provision is not yet law, as it must still be agreed to by our Senate and the President.  But it is good for producers, good for crop insurance, and good for the proponents of this provision because the latter should want a smooth rollout.

    Our message was fairly simple.  You may read our 1-page leave behind here.  But, most importantly, we built and cultivated some relationships that will help us when we join in battle next time.


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