Crop Insurance Today - 27

the public," he continued. "We saw this first-hand
during the budget battles of late 2015, and we are
already seeing agriculture rally behind crop insurance in preparation for the upcoming Farm
Bill debate."
Mr. Day was not alone in his comments on
the importance of crop insurance during this
convention.
Leaders from the House Agriculture Committee expressed their continued support for
crop insurance and urged agriculture to remain
vigilant against farm policy critics during the upcoming Farm Bill debate.
The Committee's Ranking Member, Collin
Peterson (D-MN), spoke during the conference
calling crop insurance "a safety net that really
works for producers."
He praised private-sector delivery as one of
the main reasons for its success over the years.
"When the government tried to run crop
insurance, it just didn't work," he said, referring to the period before private providers were
tapped in 1980 to deliver insurance protection to
farmers. 
The public-private partnership that characterizes crop insurance today prioritizes customer
service and innovates to meet the changing risks
that farmers face, Peterson explained.
"We just need to make sure we keep it that
way in the future," he noted. Peterson wasn't
alone in applauding the current structure of crop
insurance.
Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) told the
group via video message that private industry and a "motivated agent workforce on the
ground," have helped increase crop insurance
participation over the years. This, he said, has reduced taxpayer risk exposure and virtually eliminated the need for costly ad hoc disaster bills in
agriculture.
"Put simply, crop insurance is working,"
Conaway continued. "For every farmer, banker,
and rural businessman I talk to, they all remind
me that crop insurance is the cornerstone of the
farm safety net."
Peterson also stressed agriculture and its allies
must work together to beat back critics of farm
policy who want to leave farmers with fewer risk
management tools.
The Chairman agreed. "We can win this
[farm bill] fight. We will win this fight because
we are in the right," he concluded. "We stand
for an industry that blesses this nation with every bushel or bale that's produced. This is an

Richard Flournoy, Deputy Administrator, RMA, and Heather Manzano, Acting Administrator,
RMA, provided an agency update and announced the 2016 crop insurance industry improper
payment rate.

industry worth fighting for."
The Acting Administrator of the USDA's Risk
Management Agency also spoke at the convention and told attendees that the improper payment rate - a closely-watched standardized
measure of waste and efficiency for all major federal spending programs - fell again in 2016 for
crop insurance.
The 2016 rate of 2.02 percent marked the second year in a row it declined, falling from 2015's
2.2 percent. Both are significantly lower than the
5.58 percent cataloged in 2014.
The announcement, made by Heather Manzano, was great news considering crop insurance's results were far better than other government programs. The government-wide improper
payment rate was 4.67 percent in 2016 and 4.39
percent in 2015.
Tom Zacharias, NCIS, said the news indicates
how well the current crop insurance infrastructure operates.
"Crop insurers and our partners at the USDA
work closely together, and we are dedicated to
being good stewards of taxpayer dollars by constantly improving efficiency," he said. "The private sector spends millions every year on new
research and technologies, as well as monitoring,
training, and education programs."
Reducing improper payments has been a
long-term goal for crop insurance providers and

the USDA. Zacharias said the new data is proof
that the hard work is paying off, and he believes
it will be key to defending the farm safety net in
political circles.

Dr. Robert Johansson, Chief Economist,
USDA, provided an overview of the farm
economy saying while the net farm income is
down, debt-to-asset ratio remains low. Farmers
are hopeful for the future and are focused on
trade agreements, crop insurance, and the
upcoming 2018 Farm Bill.
CROPINSURANCE TODAY®

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