Costly Farm Bill: New Analysis of Crop Insurance's High Price

In a just-released working paper, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) agricultural economists Vincent Smith, Bruce Babcock, and Barry Goodwin find that the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Supplementary Coverage Option (SCO) programs in the House version of the farm bill could cost taxpayers over $20 billion

Key findings:

  • High cost of PLC: If crop prices remain at historically high levels, program costs will be approximately $1.1 billion. However, if crop prices drop to their recent historical average levels, program costs could exceed $18 billion annually--almost four times the current cost of subsidies paid under the Direct Payments program, which the PLC would replace.
  • Crop insurance boondoggle continues: If prices remain at current high levels, the SCO will cost taxpayers $2.6 billion annually. Half a billion of those dollars would flow directly to crop insurance companies--who already receive $3 billion per year in other taxpayer subsidies. If prices drop to recent historical average levels, SCO costs would drop to $1.5 billion.
  • Skewed priorities: If crop prices moderate to recent historical average levels, the House PLC and SCO programs will cost taxpayers over $20 billion per year, more than all current spending on farm-oriented programs. This includes current programs that enhance farm incomes--like subsidized crop insurance, direct payments, disaster aid, and loan rate programs--in addition to publicly funded R&D and education programs that benefit consumers, processing companies, and farmers by improving agricultural productivity.


Read the full report here.

Vince Smith directs AEI's American Boondoggle: Fixing the 2012 Farm Bill project and is an agricultural economist at Montana State University, Bruce Babcock is an professor of economics at Iowa State University, and Barry Goodwin is the William Neil Reynolds professor of agricultural economics at North Carolina State University.

Learn more at www.AmericanBoondoggle.com

For media inquiries please contact Jesse Blumenthal at [email protected] or 202.862.4870.

Follow @AEInews

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Vincent H.
Smith

What's new on AEI

Defeating ISIS: AEI experts weigh-in before the president’s address on Wednesday
image Degrading, defeating, and destroying the Islamic State
image Wealth Building Home Loan: Building wealth through homeownership and retirement savings
image The $3 iPhone
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 15
    MON
  • 16
    TUE
  • 17
    WED
  • 18
    THU
  • 19
    FRI
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Constitution as political theory

Please join us for the third-annual Walter Berns Constitution Day Lecture as James Ceasar, Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, explores some of the Constitution’s most significant contributions to political theory, focusing on themes that have been largely unexamined in current scholarship.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | 8:10 a.m. – Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 1:30 p.m.
Third international conference on housing risk: New risk measures and their applications

We invite you to join us for this year’s international conference on housing risk — cosponsored by the Collateral Risk Network and AEI International Center on Housing Risk — which will focus on new mortgage and collateral risk measures and their applications.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Speaker of the House John Boehner on resetting America’s economic foundation

Please join us as Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) delivers his five-point policy vision to reset America’s economy.

Event Registration is Closed
Friday, September 19, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Reforming Medicare: What does the public think?

Please join us as a panel of distinguished experts explore the implications of the report and the consumer role in shaping the future of Medicare.

Event Registration is Closed
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.