Congresswoman Martha McSally

Representing the 2nd District of Arizona

McSally Backs Arizona Farmers & Ranchers in Letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture

September 19, 2018
Press Release
Advocates for Ranchers Ahead of Drought Season

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Martha McSally led a bipartisan letter to the Sonny Perdue, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), regarding the Risk Management Agency’s (RMA) recent decision to reduce the policy protection amounts value of Pasture, Rangeland, and Foraging (PRF) crop insurance. PRF insurance helps protect producers from risks of forage loss due to a lack of rainfall and helps them bounce back from a potentially devastating drought.

“Cattle ranching is an extremely important part of Arizona agriculture and contributes to our state’s economy immensely. RMA assured farmers and ranchers that they would not alter PRF insurance last month but went on to change their mind without providing adequate notice. This eleventh hour move harms Arizona’s ranchers and is unacceptable,” said Congresswoman McSally. “The tens of thousands of local farmers who rely on this program deserve much better, and I will continue to have their backs every step of the way.”

“The PRF drought insurance program has helped Arizona ranchers deal with a very severe drought. The 30-66% drop in the protection provided by the program greatly reduced their ability to operate their ranches during such a severe drought as we have had this year. The decision by USDA puts Arizona beef production at a tremendous risk,” said Jay Whetten, President of the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association

“We sincerely appreciate congresswoman McSally’s advocacy for Arizona farmers and ranchers with regards to the recent decision of the USDA to potentially limit coverage available under the PRF insurance program,” said Lanny Hair, Executive Vice President of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Arizona. Agriculture including both farming and ranching is a critical component of the Arizona economy and insurance coverages are necessary for the operation of any business enterprise. A sudden reduction in available coverage from the RMA will leave many who have relied on this program facing unnecessary financial exposure. We appreciate Congresswoman McSally’s efforts to help protect this critical segment of Arizona’s economy.”

Earlier this year, RMA assured ranchers that no significant changes would be made to the program. However, just before the PRF policies for crop year 2019 were made available, RMA suddenly and drastically reduced “county base values” by an average of nearly 41% in Arizona. This means that ranchers are insured for less and will receive much smaller payouts. In her letter to Secretary Perdue, Representative McSally called for the RMA to reverse course and use the same “county base values” as 2018 and for the 2020 insurance year solicit more input from stakeholders before drastically reducing the county base values.

Click HERE to read Representative McSally’s full letter.