The agriculture secretary said Tuesday that he would ask Congress to consider setting up a national farm insurance fund.
“It is clear that the president and the Congress have no interest in funding crop insurance.
It is also clear that there is no appetite among farm policy experts to fund it,” Tom Vilsack said in a statement.
He said he will write a letter to the Senate Agriculture Committee asking them to consider an amendment that would establish a farm insurance program to fund crop insurance coverage for all farmers.
The Agriculture Department would like to see crop insurance be part of the national farm policy, but the idea of the farm insurance system in the context of food production is not something we would be pursuing, Vilsacks statement said.
Vilsack’s request comes as farmers are being increasingly frustrated by the slow pace of new crop insurance and price hikes that have plagued the industry for months.
This is a critical time for farmers because the federal crop insurance program is already fully funded.
Farmers are seeing price hikes of up to 5 percent a year, but they are struggling to pay the premiums.
Farmers say they have seen their premiums rise by up to $2,000 annually because of the cost of crop insurance, according to an October report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
President Donald Trump has called for the elimination of the current crop insurance system, but his administration has not provided a clear plan for how to do that.