Farming is a risky business — so risky, private insurers wouldn’t touch it alone. The federal government long ago stepped in as a partner.
“Overall, farmers realize how important the program is and are very happy to have it,” said John Read of The Assure Group, a Peoria-Ill.-based insurance company.
The Risk Management Agency handles the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, which was created during the 1930s when the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl dealt a double whammy to farmers.
Crop insurance is a work in progress, constantly evolving, especially when RMA took over as the nation’s crop insurance facilitator in 1996.
Most farmers prefer the current program of subsidized insurance providing differing levels of coverage. In the past, financial relief from disasters such as drought or storms came only after Congress agreed on disaster payments on a case-by-case basis.
“I believe most farmers are happy with crop insurance,” said Ervin Orwig of Federal All Risk Crop Insurance of Spencer, Iowa. “It’s favorable to most of them because of the way it’s figured nowadays. Now you pay for insurance and you insure the level you want.”