ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, U.S. — Anngie Steinbarger, a soybean and corn farmer from Edinburgh, Indiana, U.S., testified Feb. 14 on the importance of crop insurance and risk management for soybean farmers as part of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry’s first hearing on the farm bill in the 113th Congress.
Testifying on behalf of the Indiana Soybean Alliance and the American Soybean Association (ASA), Steinbarger joined farmers representing the livestock and specialty crop industries in detailing the impacts of the historic drought of 2012 and expressing the importance of protecting crop insurance as Congress moves to pass a comprehensive farm bill later this year.
"The number one barrier to increasing our yields is lack of water. Dry weather in the months of July and August always limits our yield potential. We find crop insurance an effective tool in managing risk when we experience these weather events," said Steinbarger in her testimony. "We began using crop insurance is 1991 as a way to maintain our cash reserves and prevent the need to borrow operating money. … Our goal is not to make money off of crop insurance but to balance our yearly revenue so we will have operating money for the following crop year."
Steinbarger also noted her farm’s use of conservation tillage to reduce erosion and water use. "To manage our thin light soil types, we started our farming operation employing conservation tillage techniques such as CRP and NRCS cost share funding. To this day we still are advocates of no till farming as a way to preserve our soil and maintain soil moisture," she said.
Finally, Steinbarger joined her fellow witnesses in reinforcing the fact that crop insurance is not a profit center for farmers; rather, it is a way for farms to remain financially stable enough to plant again in the coming year. "We paid a substantial premium for crop insurance," she said. "… and that decision is keeping us in business for the 2013 crop year."
For a transcript of Steinbarger’s testimony, go to http://www.soygrowers.com/newsroom/releases/2013/021413-Steinbarger-SenateAg-CropIns.pdf
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