Oklahoma Farmers Concerned Crop Insurance Program Could Be Trimmed

Sunday, September 25th 2011, 7:48 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

CRAIG COUNTY, Oklahoma -- Greg Leonard has been farming his 1500 acres in Craig County for three decades.

He doesn't consider his operation to be large but he does run it like a business which means he carries crop insurance.

"It's a way of providing peace of mind for lenders in agriculture," he said. "If they lend us the money to come try to grow a crop at least they're guaranteed a return."

Leonard spends $16,000 a year for his crop insurance but he's worried about cuts being proposed in Washington.

President Obama is considering a plan to reform the program that would save $8-billion over the decade.

"We're all willing to do our part to balance the budget, but crop insurance is the one thing that every commodity group, every farm organization, is asking to build the farm program around," Leonard said.

Leonard said crop insurance is extremely important during summers like this when the drought has nearly decimated his corn crop which means he's bringing in less money than normal.

If the cuts in crop insurance go through, Leonard said, lenders will be less likely to loan money which would mean farmers wouldn't be able to buy new equipment and the fallout would trickle through every farming community.

"It's going to be the fertilizer suppliers, the bankers, the car dealers, the machinery dealers," he said.

Leonard is worried that the proposed cuts are just the latest to hamstring farmers in the name of savings. He's worried what will happen if Washington keeps chopping away at programs that help those who help feed the country.

"It concerns me that some in Washington right now are, maybe, growing our food and our security, supporting our farmers are not in the interest of what this administration wants.