The Senate overwhelmingly agreed March 23 to reduce premiums and cover new farm commodities in an effort to increase the number of farmers buying federally subsidized crop insurance. The move is expected to cost taxpayers $1.5 billion a year and will cut some policy premiums by as much as half. In addition, the legislation would offer coverage to livestock producers for the first time ever, and expand coverage for fruit and vegetable growers. The Agriculture Department says the legislation could eventually pay for itself by making farmers less dependent on federal programs. The Independent Insurance Agents of America and its members advocated using increased funding to offset farmer crop premiums and requiring all insurance sellers to follow state licensing, sales and solicitation laws.
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