Rural America Reminds Lawmakers to Keep

Their Promise to Protect Crop Insurance

from Cuts in Spending Bill

Friday, November 20, 2015     From Farm Policy Facts

      "It ain't over till it's over," said the great Yogi Berra. He was referring to the New York Mets' season in 1973, but the sentiment could easily describe the fight to stave off cuts to federal crop insurance this year.

      Last month, leaders in Washington included a provision to cut crop insurance in a budget deal that was negotiated at the last minute and without any consultation with farmers and rural lawmakers. The agricultural community pushed back and leaders from the House and Senate Agriculture Committees were able to secure an agreement to remove the harmful provision in the upcoming omnibus spending bill that's due to be revealed and considered in early December.

      But, that promise is just a promise until it is included in the bill; it passes in Congress, and the president signs it into law. This reality is why a diverse group of farming organizations, agricultural businesses, banks and others sent a letter to Capitol Hill on Thursday reminding them of their commitment to farmers and ranchers across the countryside.

      "We urge you to uphold the promise to make the crop insurance program whole again without re-opening the farm bill," they write in the November 19 letter. "The crop insurance program is a linchpin of the farm safety net and is crucial to the economic security of rural America."

      The groups highlighted that farm spending and, specifically, crop insurance has been cut by billions to help balance the federal budget, but this cut in the budget goes too far saying it "would gut the private sector delivery" at a time when insurers are already seeing red. "The inevitable result of this provision would be industry consolidation, reduced choice in insurance providers for all farmers, and a dramatic decline in the availability and service of policies," they explain.

      Lawmakers will need to pass an omnibus spending bill to prevent a government shutdown by December 11. That's when a stopgap measure, known as a continuing resolution, is set to expire.

      The full letter is at


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Borlaug to Keynote Texas Commodity

Symposium December 2

      The fifteenth annual Texas Commodity Symposium will be held Wednesday, December 2, in Amarillo in conjunction with the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show in the Grand Plaza Room at the Amarillo Civic Center. The free event will begin at 9:30 a.m.

      The symposium, which is hosted by the Corn Producers Association of Texas, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., Texas Grain Sorghum Association, Texas Peanut Producers Board and Texas Wheat Producers Association, will conclude with the annual Ag Appreciation Luncheon, presented by the symposium and the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce Ag Council.

      Julie Borlaug, the associate director for the Norman Borlaug Institute for Agriculture at Texas A&M University, will present the symposium's keynote address during the Ag Appreciation Luncheon. Borlaug will speak on the role of Genetically Modified Organisms, food safety and food security at both a domestic and international level. The Norman Borlaug Institute designs and implements science based agricultural development and training programs that guide the phases of agricultural industry from production to consumption to fight hunger and poverty among smallholder agricultural communities of the developing world.

      "As the granddaughter of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Borlaug, Ms. Borlaug has a strong foundation of understanding agriculture's role in sustainably securing food resources for the world's growing population," TGSA Executive Director Wayne Cleveland said.

      Additionally, the symposium will examine a variety of issues that impact producers and the agribusiness sector. Featured topics this year include an update on transportation regulations, an agricultural issues panel, and program updates from NRCS and FSA.

      The event is made free of charge for attendees because of the generous support of symposium sponsors, including ARMTech Insurance Services, Bayer CropScience, DuPont Pioneer, High Plains Journal, Monsanto, and National Peanut Board.

      For sponsorship opportunities or more information, please call (800) 647-CORN (2676) or email


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Upcoming Area Ag Conferences

      December 8 – Swisher County Ag Day, 8 a.m., Swisher County Memorial Building, 127 SW Second Street. Five CEUs available. Individual registration $10, including lunch. RSVP by December 1 to the AgriLife Extension office in Swisher County, (806) 995-3726.

      December 11 – High Plains Ag Conference, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 1102 E. Farm-to-Market Road 1294, Lubbock. Five CEUs available. Preregistration with lunch: $35 by December 9 and $45 thereafter and at the door, with no lunch guarantee. More information: Robert Scott, (806) 775-1740,

      If you have a conference to add to this list, please call (806) 792-4904 or email