The Center for Rural Affairs is rolling out its platform for the next farm bill. Anna Johnson, a policy associate for the center, says they want the massive new package of agricultural legislation to include a higher premium subsidy for those farmers who use conservation methods.

“One proposal that’s in our platform is to reward farmers for practicing good stewardship by offering them a relatively higher premium subsidy,” Johnson says. “If you’re practicing conservation on your land, that means that you can qualify for the government to kick in more support on your premium.”

Another provision in the organization’s platform would allow farmers who employ certain conservation methods to get full crop insurance benefits. “Planting cover crops, for example, is not under the umbrella of what’s called ‘good farming practices,’ it’s in its own special category under crop insurance,” Johnson says. “Sometimes, when farmers are planting cover crops, they get penalized on their crop insurance or it becomes harder for them to file claims, so we want to eliminate that confusion and simplify crop insurance procedures.”

Johnson says they also want crop insurance payments limited. “The government covers about two-thirds of that, on average, and we’ve got a proposal in here to cap that number,” she says. “It’s called a crop insurance premium subsidy and we’re proposing to cap it at $50,000 per operation. This is a proposal that’s been kicked around in previous farm bills.”

Johnson says it’s important the new farm bill has a strong conservation program with more funding for CSP and EQIP and a strong, well-rounded safety net. She says those wanting to know more about the farm bill platform can find it on the Center for Rural Affairs website: The center is based in Lyons, Nebraska.

(Thanks to Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)