WASHINGTON, D.C., June 21, 2012 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) commends the U.S. Senate for passing S. 3240, the “Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012” (known as the Senate 2012 Farm Bill) today in a 64-35 vote. The Senate version of the bill eliminates the $5 billion a year in direct payments and places more of an emphasis on the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) as the primary risk management tool for America’s farmland.
The association was particularly pleased to see that an amendment offered by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) which would have stripped the FCIP of critical resources in its budget baseline was soundly defeated.
“The defeat of the harmful crop insurance amendment offered by Sen. Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) underscores just how important the crop program is to American agriculture,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “As the exclusive sales force of the FCIP, independent insurance agents are uniquely skilled at helping farmers and ranchers make important risk management decisions about their crop coverage. At a time when farmers are being asked to rely even more heavily on the FCIP as their primary risk management tool, independent agents are an absolute necessity to the future of agriculture.”
The House Agriculture Committee is currently expected to consider the House version of the Farm Bill after the July 4 Congressional recess. The current Farm Bill is set to expire Sept. 30, 2012.
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.