Congress is debating restoring $3 billion in recent cuts to the crop insurance program as part of a transportation bill. Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer says at least one environmental group thinks the cuts should stay.
The cuts are controversial because farmers depend on crop insurance in lean times and the current program grew out of painstaking farm bill negotiations. But the Environmental Working Group, a longtime critic of farm subsidies, says the cuts wouldn’t hurt farmers. Companies might have to tighten their belts.
Iowa State University economist Bruce Babcock did the math for EWG.
"You would end up with a more efficient delivery system, you would end up with about the same companies and the same number of agents, maybe a bit of consolidation," he says.
Babcock says he used figures from the industry itself to conclude crop insurance companies have fat they could trim.