PEORIA, Ill. -- The 2014 crop insurance program is streamlined in favor of most farmers. Farmers now have more control over irrigated lands. The program allows them separate coverage for high risk lands like floodplains. It also re-rates premiums to consider more relevant crop history and long term weather patterns--lowering most local farmers' premiums.
"There are so many uncontrollable factors that farmers have to deal with. Markets--they have no control over the markets--weather bugs, disease--all of those play a factor," said Illinois Farm Bureau representative Douglas Yoder. "When a drought year comes along, like 2012, we need crop insurance to protect us. Otherwise, farmers would go out of business," said Yoder.
Crop insurance remains on the farm bill expected to pass in the Senate next week. Direct payments to farmers were eliminated. Illinois Farm Bureau representatives tell farmers crop insurance will be targeted next.
"That portion of the program and the bill is under fire yet, and will be for the next couple years, but I hope it's the portion that stays," said Peoria farmer, Ted Harding. "I'd rather give up other parts of the bill than federal crop insurance."
Crop insurance is the second highest cost in the Farm Bill after food stamps.