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Secretary Perdue discusses crop insurance with Iowa farmers

Secretary Perdue discusses crop insurance with Iowa farmers

Some producers concerned about fraudulent claims

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue met with Iowa producers on Friday to talk about their experiences with crop insurance programs.

Perdue discussed those who collect insurance yearly and talked about farmers who may choose not to insure their crops because they can’t collect it.

Crop insurance is an expense and farmers shouldn’t presume it’s always going to pay off, according to Perdue.

“We need (crop insurance) when we need it, but it’s not something from which we ought to expect an investment return on a regular basis,” Perdue said, according to KCRG.

And keeping crops insured can help farmers the following year, according to Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, second from left, discusses issues with Iowa farmers and legislators.
Photo: Sonny Perdue/Twitter

“I think that, with most Iowa corn and soybean farmers, that’s their attitude,” he said during the meeting with Perdue, according to KCRG. “If we hit crop insurance, we’re losing money. But, it’s hugely important to keep so that we can plant again next year.”

Farmers also brought up crop insurance fraud.

When farmers could get about $8.00 per bushel of corn, some would put less than ideal land into production to guarantee themselves a profit, one farmer said to KCRG.

There have been two instances of crop insurance fraud this year, according to the USDA’s Risk Management Agency. One occurred in October and an $800,000 incident happened in January.

Perdue agreed that he’s witnessed “insurance farmers,” but has been reassured there’s not as much insurance fraud today, according to KCRG.

And on Thursday, Perdue discussed the vacancies within his department at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters Trade Talk in Kansas City, MO.

U.S. Senators have put some high-profile USDA confirmations on hold, including Northey for the role of Under Secretary and Gregg Doud for the position of the U.S. Trade Representative’s chief agriculture negotiator.

If there isn’t movement on these positions soon, Perdue will appeal to his Senate counterparts to move ahead with the confirmations, he said.

“I will probably go and make direct appeals to the leadership of the Senate if it goes on (much longer),” he said, according to KCRG. “We’re trying to be respectful but there is a limit to that.”