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Noem Defends Family Crop Insurance Cash Cow

Congresswoman Kristi Noem is determined to use the power we gave her to protect her family's financial interests:

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., told reporters Thursday she's considering a cap on direct payments as well and, like Thune and Johnson, is a strong defender of crop insurance programs.

"Producers across South Dakota want a safety net," she said. "Crop insurance is really key to making sure that they can manage their risks. So we're going to make sure that that program remains viable and a useful tool for them" [Ledyard King, "Vilsack: Cuts Loom in Farm Bill," that Sioux Falls paper, 2011.05.26].

Crop insurance is really key to paying the bills at the federally subsidized Noem farm. Noem's husband Bryon continues to advertise his services as a crop insurance salesman. The South Dakota press has mentioned the Noem's massive crop susbidies (the family's Racota Valley Ranch was the 18th largest South Dakota recipient of ag welfare from 1995 to 2009), but it continues to ignore the Congresswoman's clear conflict of interest on crop insurance.

For all Noem's talk of cutting government spending and waste, reporters should be asking her why she so staunchly defends a "textbook example of waste, fraud, and abuse in federal spending," a program where more than 40% of every federal dollar spent has gone to pad the pockets of insurance agents like her husband.

Maybe the answer is so obvious that the press doesn't feel the need to ask. But I'd sure like to.

Related: The Farm Service Agency union wants to take private crop insurance agents out of the business completely and have government employees directly administer this government program. The insurance agents' lobby is understandably unhappy with this proposal. So, surely, are subsidy-slurping Kristi and Bryon.


  1. Chris S. 2011.05.29

    Shorter Kristi: "People like me deserve a safety net. The rest of you don't."
    (Particularly those lazy, greedy seniors who depend on Medicare, which Kristi voted to cut.)

  2. mike 2011.05.29

    This is very discouraging especially since she just ripped Herseth for having a lobbyist husband.

    I wonder how much she and Bryon have seen their income go up since she has gotten to congress???

    Kristi is a hypocrite and exactly what I find wrong with her.

  3. mike 2011.05.29

    Lets also have safety nets for the banking industry, Auto industry and anyone else who might ever fail.

    Kristi doesn't understand the Government can't pick winners and losers.

  4. moses 2011.05.29

    The subsidy queen riding high.

  5. mike 2011.05.29

    This will become a really big deal when Noem runs for reelectoin against Herseth again.

  6. Charlie Johnson 2011.05.29

    Subsidies in crop insurance has no payment limits. Bigger the farm operation-larger the amount that taxpayers funnel to them. With larger,bigger, and better safety nets comes the "freight train" of concentrated agriculture. The large grain operations raise land rents and land prices to unsustainable levels and thus block out a new generation of farmers in South Dakota and elsewhere. Crop insurance is perhaps okay but it needs to be private and be fully funded by preminums paid by farmers. My guess you would not not see much participation in that case. What does that tell you? The better approach is for farmers is to get smaller, more efficient, diversified, and creative in orfer to better handle risk and allow new opportunities for beginners.

  7. kwn 2011.05.29

    I you can take out insurance on your business (farming) why wouldn't you? You take insurance out on your cars --- and hope you never use it. In my opinion, crop insurance is the same thing - you have it, just in case you need it.

  8. kwn 2011.05.29

    *If (sorry)

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.05.29

    Insurance is useful. However, for how many other industries does the government so significantly subsidize insurance?

  10. Guy 2011.05.29

    Ah yes Corey, as long as Noem's programs are getting all the pay-outs we should all be happy. She never answered these questions throughout the campaign and got away with it. There were just enough swing voters (2%) focusing on the distractions she put out there that she successfully framed and smeared Stephanie into losing. When we are all eating PBJ and Ramen for supper with in the next year to make ends meet, I hope the swing voters get real hungry for a good stake and remember who gave us Peter Pan in the Jar Politics.

  11. Guy 2011.05.29

    *Steak* that's what I was going for. lol

  12. mike 2011.05.29

    Interesting that Kristi wants all farm crop insured but doesn't really care about the human beings who fall sick to cancer or other diseases to have safety nets...

  13. mike 2011.05.29

    once upon a time farmers diversified with crops and animals then they realized it was easier and less work to just have grain and get money from the fed.

  14. mike 2011.05.30

    Has anyone ever thought about Nancy Turbak Berry running against Noem in '12?

  15. Troy Jones 2011.05.31

    Again, can we talk about issues with even just the most basic of information and not just off the cuff ignorance? Or is it just too much fun to take a shot at Noem? Ask 100 farmers (small and large) and you will get 90+ who say crop insurance is critical to their ability to get financing for their farm operations. Take this away, and the small farm disappears and food prices go up much more than the cost of the federal subsidy. In the realm of cost/benefit to the citizenry, crop insurance subsidy is a bargain.

    But to answer Cory's question, flood insurance, FDIC insurance, the flooding mitigation work going on in our state right now, just to name a few exceed farm crop insurance.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.05.31

    Great. So why don't we do a similar cost-benefit analysis for providing federally subsidized health insurance for all citizens?

  17. Troy Jones 2011.05.31

    Sounds good. The GOP plan that was rejected for consideration by Obama and the Dems in Congress looks very good compared to Obamacare.

  18. Guy 2011.05.31

    I highly doubt that Troy.

  19. mike 2011.05.31


    And that is exactly why we were stupid to propose a plan that couldn't pass. NOEM wouldn't have gotten elected if she had to talk about Medicare instead of just saying "I'll repeal Obamacare." If this cost the GOP their chance to repeal Obamacare because it gave obama a political issue for reelection then they were wrong to do this. I don't like Obamacare or Obama. I don't like Noem because she is a hypocrite.

    Rather than make everyone buy insurance I'm thinking the Government should have just taken over the Doctors and treated it like being in the army.

    It's those guys and big pharma that skyrocket our prices because just like I wouldn't pay $1,000 a night for a Hotel Room I wouldn't pay $1,000 a night for a hospital room and the hospitals know this. If my insurance is paying for it and I'm not paying my insurance (cause it's through work or government) they know they can raise the costs to very high #'s.

    So maybe under a different plan we pay for Doctors to go to school and then we pay them $150k a year for their services.

    Also the cost of new technology and cutting edge meds is another reason things are so expensive.

  20. mike 2011.05.31

    The only reason food prices stay low through the Gov is because they control the product and same reason teacher salaries are low and education is fairly low is because we control the product.

    All I know is Obamacare is going to be very costly.

  21. Charlie Johnson 2011.05.31

    Subsidized crop insurance is only helping the bigger operations. It has helped to raise cash rents and deny access to land by beginning farmers. It is welfare pure and simple.

  22. Jenna 2011.05.31

    Welfare for the taxpayers. I don't think people generally know the real cost of food. Take all the subsidies away and I'm afraid we would be worse off. There has to be a happy median, but with any gov't program, we will always have those who abuse it. Do I have the answer, No, but I am smart enough to know we need something.

    As for docs, they deserve 300k a year. They don't get a paycheck until they are 30 and they have more expenses than you think. I sure wouldn't want to pay 50k a year for malpractice insurance b/c we are such a sue happy country. I think the healthcare costs have risen b/c of our own attitudes towards perfection and the costs that have been put into place because of it. Just think how much regulation and butt protection has been put into place the last 50 years. I'd like to see less adminstration and more control given back to the docs. Same thing for education. We have created inefficient monsters and they need to be tamed. Obamacare gave the coverage, now let's do something about cost.

    btw....I have a sister who is a doctor, and the one thing she hates the most is the redundant tests she has to perform. If test A shows nothing bad, she has to run B simply to make sure she doesn't get sued if something were to turn up, but 99.9% of the time test B won't show anything if test A is negative. Same goes when she receives patients from other doctors. She can ask if a test is performed and the patient may know the exact results, but she will have to perform it again to cover her butt. If she takes the patients word on the results, and that proves to be a mistake, she can be sued again even though the patient lied. This is also the reason why she will never stop for car accidents. The second she lays hands on that patient, she is responsible. Let's say an airway is blocked and she tries to unblock it and the patient has a history that wouldn't allow this. She may kill the person inadvertantly and be sued, when the patient would have died had she not tried it in the first place. There are a ton of scenarios I could play out for you, but it just disgusts me when you think of them.

  23. Curtis Loesch 2011.06.08

    Rep. Noem will be in Huron on Flag Day Sunday at a Beadle County Republican Party wiener roast (and I'll bet puns will be flying off the grills) at the band-shell at Campbell Park in central Huron (near the Library).

    Would anyone care to join me in peaceful protest against her vote to kill Medicare for those of us 54 and younger? She has been very silent about her vote for the Ryan Plan to kill Medicare and I think she and her supporters should be reminded that they are not looking out for the average American/South Dakotan when they seek to end the Medicare Promise yet, coincidentally, give more tax breaks to the wealthiest.

    I would be honored to have some fellow South Dakotans join me with signs. Please respond to my email address.

    And, I agree with Mike on his comment above.

    [CAH: The Huron Plainsman reports that the picnic happens Sunday, June 12, 5:30 p.m. at Memorial Park in Huron]

  24. Curtis Loesch 2011.06.09

    I am incorrect about the location of the Republican Party's Flag Day picnic. It will be at Memorial Park's south shelter, not nearly the ideal location I had mistakenly imagined. I apologize for not checking my facts on that. If anyone does want to protest against Noem and the Ryan Plan or Noem's politics in general, we could still walk up and down the sidewalk in Memorial Park, though it would not have the public visibility I had mistakenly envisioned were the picnic held at the band shell in Campbell Park.

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