The Oregon congressional delegation is endorsing a bill that aims to revamp federal subsidies for crop insurance, with the goal of incentivizing insurance agents to offer coverage to smaller farms specializing in growing specialty crops.
The Oregon Congressional Delegation introduced a Bill
In July, the Insuring Fairness for Family Farmers Act was introduced by Democratic Representatives Andrea Salinas and Earl Blumenauer, along with Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey.
The proposed Insuring Fairness for Family Farmers Act (IFFFA) seeks to reform the calculation of crop insurance agent commissions, aiming to create equitable opportunities for small farms. Under IFFFA, agent compensation would be determined based on the effort required in selling or servicing the policy.
According to the East Oregonian, the Insuring Fairness for Family Farmers Act aims to bring about a significant shift by altering the criteria for distributing administrative and operating subsidies. The proposed adjustments to agent incentives in the Insuring Fairness for Family Farmers Act would maintain revenue neutrality, ensuring that the total incentives allocated to crop insurance agents remain unchanged. Moreover, a substantial majority of agents would experience an increase in commissions per policy due to the implementation of this legislation.
The Oregon Farms
The Oregon Department of Agriculture reports that about one-third of the state’s 37,200 farms are under 10 acres in size, exceeding the national average of 13.4%. Despite this, Representative Salinas emphasized that approximately 89% of the Farm Bill’s support predominantly favors approximately 150,000 of the largest farms.
Presently, specialty crop farms and small farms experience significantly lower coverage rates compared to large, commodity crop farms. The reason behind this under-coverage lies in the federal subsidies that compensate crop insurance agents based on the number of policies they sell.
Senator Booker emphasized that providing access to crop insurance for all types of producers can contribute to a more resilient agriculture sector, expressing the bill’s intent. Additionally, the nonprofit Farm Action Fund, which advocates for small family farms, has shown support for the legislation. While Representative Salinas acknowledged challenges in gaining bipartisan backing, she asserted that all ideas are being considered during the bill’s discussion.