Record Crop Insurance Payout Sparks Subsidy Debate

DES MOINES, Iowa (March 22, 2013)--Farmers have filed a record $16 billion in crop insurance claims for 2012 because of widespread drought, and the amount has critics calling for changes in the federal crop insurance program.

Farmers buy crop insurance, but the federal government pays 62 percent of their premiums and picks up the tab for losses over a certain amount.

One analyst estimated that the federal tab for 2012 will come to about $11 billion.

It's the second consecutive year of record crop insurance payments, with flooding and drought in 2011 followed by an even worse drought.

The Federal Crop Insurance Corp. sets total losses so far at $15.91 billion, with some claims still pending, which is at least a 47 percent increase from the $10.8 billion in losses in 2011.

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