Farm policy and disaster aid programs: The path looking forward

Dry field by Shutterstock.com

Five standing or permanent disaster programs were established by the 2008 Farm Bill but were only funded through the end of 2011. In 2012, therefore, while the five programs remained on the legislative books, without funding they had become vacuous as vehicles for providing disaster aid to farmers and ranchers, at a time when the Corn Belt, Texas, Oklahoma and other mid-Western states experienced severe drought. For producers in the drought-stricken regions and without crop insurance, the financial consequences were harsh. In the context of the current debate of the 2013 Farm Bill, therefore, we examine what is likely to happen with respect to a new farm bill and disaster aid policy over the next five years. There appears to be strong support for continuing disaster aid loan programs and disaster programs for livestock operations. However, not least because of the availability of other lucrative government programs—including federal crop insurance—and a near record-high level of farm incomes in 2012, the permanent or standing crop disaster program established by the 2008 Farm Bill—the Supplemental Revenues Assistance Payments (SURE) program—appears to have been permanently discontinued.

 

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Vincent H.
Smith

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