Senior Advisor
Posts: 3,228
Registered: ‎04-30-2010

ISU Prof Bad Mouths Crop Insurance

[ Edited ]

Bruce Babcock holds the Cargill Chair of Energy Economics and is the director of the Biobased Industry Center.  This is at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.  Babcock got his academic education at the University of California, Davis, and Berkely.


There is a tweet dated 24 Apr 13 in Roll Call, a capitol hill publication.


"Babcock: It's Time to Ask Farmers to Pay More for Crop Insurance"


"When somebody else pays for their drinks, most partygoers find they want and need more than a modest amount to drink because at an open bar, the cost of a drink is the time spent waiting in line for service. At a cash bar, lines are shorter because most people find they just don’t need that much to drink when they have to pay for it."


When you start an opinion piece implying that farmers are the drunks at the free bar, it does not give the impression that there is any objectivity to follow.


"The record $12.7 billion insurance payout to corn and soybean farmers in 2012 was more than twice what they would have been had subsidies not induced farmers to buy Revenue Protection rather than regular revenue insurance."


It's hard to tell what crop insurance farmers would have bought if RP had not been available. Crop insurance is one way the government avoids disaster relief payments which would certainly have been voted on had crop insurance not been available.


"Just as charging for drinks dramatically reduces alcohol consumption, increasing the farmers’ share of the cost of managing their risk would dramatically reduce their use of insurance. "


Bruce has me about on the wagon by now.  There is no question that price is a factor in how much crop insurance I buy.  I wonder if Bruce has addressed the fact that many farmers are buying the most expensive insurance which happens to be the proportionally least subsidized?


I guess my pesonal bottom line is I don't care what opinions he has.  What I do care about is that he seems fit to bite the hand that feeds him by giving not facts, not objectivity, but opinions and personal bias.  It seems to me he can put up all the graphs and charts that he wants but it is not his place as a professor in a universtiy I fund to have a public policy opinion.  I don't pay him for opinions.  If he wants to publicly propose policy, let him resign his position and run for office where he will have both the right and the responsibility to formulate policy.


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