May 4, 2007
May 4, 2007 - U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Chairman Colin Peterson (Minn.) said he will deliver a 2007 version of the Farm Bill to his committee by mid-May and hopes to incorporate a new disaster assistance insurance plan that would require farmers to share the risk in providing coverage for catastrophic damages. Peterson indicated that the increasing difficulty that farm-bloc members have selling emergency supplemental bills that cover farm losses to Congress is a major reason for his proposal.
"It's getting harder and harder," he said, due to the high cost of disaster aid and the competing demands of non-farm interests for a slice of the federal pie. The complex array of agriculture programs and subsidies is hard to explain and justify to members of Congress.
Under his approach, farmers who affirmatively decline to enroll in the program would not be eligible for assistance. "The time has come for producers to share the risks of catastrophic losses," he said, adding that eventually all growers-from pecans and fruits to corn and wheat-would have to sign up for the coverage or shoulder the entire cost of disastrous crop losses.