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Kristi Noem Quiet on Crop Insurance Waste and Fraud

The Los Angeles Times reports on efforts to root out waste, fraud, and profiteering in the federal crop insurance program.

The program ballooned, thanks to insurance industry lobbying and federal rules that make it tough for farmers to go without coverage. Although the amount of acreage covered remained relatively stable, the value of insured crops climbed to $78 billion in 2010 from $36.7 billion in 2001. Premiums, tied to the volatility of the commodity futures market, jumped in price. Agents' commissions, which are tied to crop prices and premiums, have tripled over the last decade.

The trouble, critics say, is that private insurers and their agents reap most of the benefits while the public still picks up the losses.

What? Farmers pushed by government to buy insurance? That can't be right....

Too bad Kristi Noem didn't get a seat on the House Agriculture Committee. She could bring her good conservative principles and lauded farm and business savvy to bear on this problem.

Funny, though, that we haven't heard the Congresswoman say much about this clear example of government waste and intrusion on the free market. Why might that be? Why oh why?

Noem and her husband Bryon also own and operate an insurance company, which offers, among other things, crop insurance. That and federal subsidies have been labeled wasteful by the establishment GOP, who've said in the past that taxpayers should not be footing the bill for farmers.

Her husband Bryon defended the insurance subsidies to CNN saying they're "providing legitimate services" to farmers of the state.

"We're just trying to make a living in South Dakota," he said [Chris Welch, "Is Kristi Noem South Dakota's {Dana Milbank Moratorium}?", 2010.11.12].


  1. jana 2011.02.06

    I'd also like to hear what she has to say about Goldman Sachs and the other global financial houses manipulating our commodity markets putting our farm families at risk.

  2. Vincent Gormley 2011.02.06

    Hand + cookie jar = Noem

  3. Charlie Johnson 2011.02.06

    If she is consistent in her political stripes(she isn't), she would advocate the end of federal subisidies for both insurance agents and farmers when it comes to federal (did i say FEDERAL) crop insurance. Then the program would have to operate on its own merits. My prediction it wouldn't because existing preminums paid by farmers would not cover the costs. The federal crop insurance by being subsidized is altering the true economic farming picture allowing ever expanding bigger operations to take over production agriculture. The net result is fewer beginning farmers and rapidily dying rural communities and schools all on the taxpayers tab.

  4. lrads1 2011.02.06

    "Just trying to make a living"?!?!?!?! A crop insurance salesman makes in six weeks what an insurance agent without crop insurance in his sales mix makes in three years or more! The privatized yet government subsidized business of crop insurance is tearing away at the fabric of rural communities, as big farmers gobble up little ones, turning once proud honest independent operators into scheming gamers of the system. The gamers win and the little non-gaming farmers lose--lose their land to those who know best how to work the subsidized crop insurance system. Any self respecting Republican ought to gag at the government subsidy shown plainly on their crop insurance premium statement. The day Rep. Noem works for real crop insurance reform will be the day South Dakota knows they elected a non self-serving rep of substance. I await that day.

  5. snapper 2011.02.07

    I have a feeling she isn't on the ag committee deliberately. I think it's because farm subsidies are a problem for her (since she likes $$$) with the base so what ever comes out of committee is easier for her to support than something she has pushed through committee.

  6. snapper 2011.02.07

    She is a total career pol and exactly what she said SHS was. Only SHS is still here in SD. (not that I like her any more but she is still in SD...) I bet if Noem lost she would leave SD for most of the year to be a Fox News contributer or something else. I guarantee you she wouldn't farm other than to sell an image.

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