A recent state Farm Insurance bill signed by Gov.
Sam Brownback will make it easier for farmers to get insurance through their own insurance companies.
The legislation was introduced Monday by Sen. John Kitzhaber, R-Bethlehem.
It passed the Senate Tuesday and will now be sent to the House.
The bill will make the state Farm Service Agency and other insurance companies cover the farming community.
It will also require that farm insurance be sold through the state’s Farm Credit Authority.
“The Farm Credit Agency is a government agency, so they have to get government permission to do this,” Kitzhoffer said.
“It was a very difficult process for us to get this done.”
The bill is the first major overhaul of the Farm Service Administration since it was created in 2012.
A lot of the problems with the agency were caused by the agency’s initial design, which was heavily influenced by the Republican governor’s administration, Kitzhof said.
Under the new bill, the Farm Credit Administrator will now have the authority to sell insurance directly to farmers and to allow farmers to take out loans on their own.
Kitzhoff said the agency is already working to improve and update the system.
“I think we’re making some really good progress with it,” he said.
The Farm Credit Act has been around for nearly a decade, and there are some key changes the state is hoping to make.
The first is that the state will no longer pay for a farm’s insurance.
The other major change is that farmers and ranchers will be able to choose which farm insurance company they want to purchase insurance from.
Kachhaber said this will be a win for farmers, ranchers and consumers because it will eliminate a number of barriers to insurance sales.
“They will no more have to choose between their farm and the insurance company that is going to be selling them,” he told the committee.
The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 18-4.
The House approved it Tuesday by a 2-1 vote.
The governor’s signature will now go to the governor’s desk.