Barr Welcomes USDA Decision to Reverse Crop Insurance Policy for Tobacco Farmers

Barr: “I will continue working to ensure even greater economic stability for Kentucky’s signature agriculture industry."

September 5, 2013

LEXINGTON – Earlier today, Senator Mitch McConnell confirmed during a phone call with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden that the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) will reverse its new, 2013 special provisions of insurance for burley and flue-cured tobacco farmers next year.

Since February of this year, Congressman Andy Barr has been a leader in the fight to provide Kentucky’s farmers with certainty in spite of the USDA and its Risk Management Agency’s 2012, last-minute changes to requirements for crop insurance for burley and flue-cured tobacco farmers. 

“I welcome today’s announcement that the USDA has reversed its December 2012 decision to implement new, special provisions of insurance for burley and flue-cured tobacco,” said Congressman Barr.  “However, it is unfortunate that many tobacco farmers will remain unable to obtain coverage this year and must wait until the 2014 crop year, all due to USDA’s implementing this poor policy in the first place.  Farmers across central and eastern Kentucky must never again be vulnerable to such untimely and harmful policy changes.  This is why I will continue to push for the passage of my legislation, H.R. 1789, the Creating Crop Insurance Certainty for Farmers Act, that will ensure instances like this do not reoccur in the future.”

On February 28, Barr authored a letter that garnered support from nine Members of Congress to RMA Administrator, Mr. William Murphy, expressing concern about the RMA’s sudden December 18, 2012 decision to alter the 2013 Provisions of Insurance for flue-cured and burley tobacco. This last-minute decision was made without ample notice or stakeholder input.  Moreover, such changes prevented many farmers who were previously covered for the 2013-planting season from receiving that coverage this year.

On April 26, Barr introduced H.R. 1789, the Creating Crop Insurance Certainty for Farmers Act.  H.R. 1789 would require the Risk Management Agency (RMA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to give advance public notice and allow for a public comment period for any modification to insurance plans offered under the Federal Crop Insurance Act. 

H.R. 1789, the Creating Crop Insurance Certainty for Farmers Act was included as an amendment to H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act, which passed the House of Representatives on July 11 by a vote of 216-208.