Ten Senators wrote the head of the Risk Management Agency (RMA) this week, urging cooperation as the Agency seeks to renegotiate the contract between the government and private companies that administer the federal crop insurance program.
The Standard Reinsurance Agreement (SRA), as the contract is known, is set to be rewritten under new rules laid out in the 2008 Farm Bill. Specifically at stake in the process is the handling of administrative and operating reimbursement rates that, if cut inappropriately, could affect the level of coverage and service producers experience.
The Senators emphasized the importance of the program to producers, many of whom rely on it as the centerpiece of their farm safety net, and urged RMA to seek improvements to the process that benefit both producers and their insurance agents.
They also communicated the expectation that the SRA renegotiation process be collaborative between insurers and their representatives, saying, “Congress envisions the renegotiation process as a genuine back-and-forth negotiation rather than one which is in effect a rulemaking by RMA and the [Federal Crop Insurance] Corporation.”
The letter was signed by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) as well as Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (D-Iowa); Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.); and Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Michael Bennett (D-Colo.).
NAWG is working with other agricultural groups to monitor the SRA renegotiation and encouraged Senators to sign onto the letter.
The letter is available in full at through the newsroom at http://ag.senate.gov