The Nation this week explores the American Farm Bureau, which, through affiliated organizations, is simultaneously one of the most important farm lobby groups and also a major insurance operation. The story is by Pulitzer-winning writer Ian Shearn. It was supported by the Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN).
Interesting passages address influence over the upcoming Farm Bill …
In Washington, the 2012 Farm Bill has predictably been a top priority
for the Farm Bureau lobby team. They have surprised players from both
sides of the debate by conceding cuts in traditional subsidies in
exchange for a large expansion of subsidized crop insurance that
protects against disasters and falling prices at an estimated cost to
taxpayers of $9 billion a year.
The tactical, philosophical shift garnered praise even from Farm Bureau
adversaries. Nonetheless, it should be noted that crop insurance is a
small, but significant piece of Farm Bureau insurance companies’
portfolio. In 2011, they collected over $300 million in crop insurance
… and contribution to the tenor of U.S. agricultural policy debate:
American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman was succinct,
almost militant in his opening address last year at the group’s annual
meeting: “We will not stand idly by while opponents of today’s American
agriculture…try to drag us down…try to bury us in bureaucratic red tape
and costly regulation—and try to destroy the most productive and
efficient agricultural system in the world,” he said.