Farmer safety net could be cut by $38B

Many farmers rely on two government subsidies to help them when times are tough.

Posted: Nov 8, 2017 7:47 AM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Many farmers rely on two government subsidies to help them when times are tough.

One supplies them with payments if revenues drop below goals set by Congress. However, most farmers choose the second option, where they are paid if revenue drops below target for individual counties.

In May, President Donald Trump proposed a bill that would slash these programs by $38 billion.

Something Tippecanoe County farmer Tom Osborn thinks about during harvest time.

"Enjoyable time because this is when we get to reap what we've sewn," said Osborn. "It's been a pretty good year from the standpoint that yields are decent, but prices are not good."

Something most farmers anticipate.

Chris Hurt, a professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University, said there are some things that can't be controlled.

"Agriculture has a lot of variability. It has a lot of potential disasters that's driven by biology and by weather," said Hurt.

Trump's proposed budget almost entirely eliminates crop insurance, leaving about 80 percent of insured corn and soybean farmers across the state in a tough spot.

"This is the challenge that Congress has of all the constituents working with a total budget," said Hurt.

Osborn hopes as Congress looks at the new bill, they consider a variety things.

"I'd like to encourage our legislators to think about crop insurance is really our safety net," said Osborn.

But, he said like anything else, this is just another thing he may have to prepare for.

"So we have to be as good of business people as we can to try not to overspend in the years that are good to save them for the bad times," said Osborn.

The current farm bill started in 2014 and expires in September 2018. Congress will start working on the new bill soon.

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