The federal crop insurance program was a hot topic at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management late last week. Montana wheat producer Bing Von Bergen testified on behalf of National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG). Von Bergen is both president of the Montana Grain Growers Association and the immediate past chairman of the NAWG domestic and trade policy committee.

He told the subcommittee that crop insurance is vital to the operations of agricultural producers, and provides stability not just for individual operations and the families that run them, but also to rural communities and the food system. He emphasized NAWG’s crop insurance priorities, including the erosion of actual production history (APH), quality loss adjustment factors and Risk Management Agency (RMA) audit procedures.

He also spoke out against any further cuts to funding for the program, which was already cut in the 2008 Farm Bill and was the only agriculture item specifically targeted for cuts in either the House- or Senate-finalized budget resolutions. “Crop insurance is a critical risk management tool for wheat producers,” he says. “According to the RMA, in 2008 nearly 49 million acres – or 77% of the country’s total wheat acres – were covered by one of the various available forms of federal crop insurance.”

For more on the testimony, go to Wheat World Policy.