The US Department of Agriculture’s give-away insurance rates for GM crops risk bankrupting the public coffers. Prof. Joe Cummins
The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) is part of the Risk Management Agency (RMA) that serves under the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), a Federal Executive Department (or Cabinet Department).The USDA-FCIC safeguards the economic stability of agriculture through a system of crop insurance and provides the means for research in devising and establishing such insurance. It is managed by a Board of Directors, subject to the general supervision of the Secretary of Agriculture.
On 12 September 2007, the FCIC Board of Directors approved a Biotech Yield Endorsement (BYE) pilot programme submitted under section 523(d) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act. The result is that farmers growing Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) maize receives crop insurance at a greatly reduced cost of between 20 and 70 percent.
The BYE programme was crafted by the Monsanto Corporation and its first beneficiary is limited to its GM maize. This insurance bonanza is intended for farmers planting Monsanto’s GM maize that has Bt genes against corn borer and root worm stacked with a gene for tolerance to Round-up herbicide. The FCIC Board of Directors, at its 14 August 2008 meeting, approved additional seed technologies for premium rate reduction for producers planting certain corn hybrid varieties; i.e., those containing Bt genes for corn borer and rootworm stacked with genes for tolerance to herbicides such as glyphosate and glufosinate. The companies benefiting from the largesse of the USDA give-away insurance include besides Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and Pioneer Hi-Bred [1, 2].