Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Nolan Introduces Bill to Expand Access to Beginning Farmers’ Crop Insurance and Advance Land Conservation

Jan 19, 2018
Press Release

[WASHINGTON D.C.] U.S. Rep Rick Nolan, Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee’s General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee, today introduced legislation to expand access to crop insurance and advance land conservation. Rep. Nolan’s bill, The Crop Insurance Modernization Act of 2018, will expand access to insurance premium discounts for beginning farmers and create a stronger link between conservation efforts and farm risk management tools.


Specifically, this legislation will support beginning farmers by:


  • Increasing access to insurance premium discounts – by expanding the definition of “beginning farmer.”
  • Requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) to study the barriers to accessing crop insurance and create plans to further expand access.

The Crop Insurance Modernization Act also seeks to advance land conservation by:


  • Coordinating conservation efforts between the Risk Management Agency (RMA) and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). 
  • Updating cover crop termination guidelines, giving farmers the option to use cover crops to use advanced conservation activities without fear of losing their crop insurance.
  • Creating a pilot program to study the potential benefits of providing premium subsidy enhancements to farmers engaged in advanced conservation activities.
  • Strengthening conservation compliance spot checks conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Closing a loophole that currently permits farmers to use historical yield data to predict the yield of lower-quality land.


“The Crop Insurance Modernization Act is a simply a good deal for everyone: It supports beginning farmers of all types by providing a stronger safety net, and it encourages good land conservation practices that are so vital to the health of our land, water and soil,” Rep. Nolan said. “I will continue working hard to advance this legislation as we move forward with the 2018 Farm Bill.”


“The federal crop insurance program is a major component of the farm safety net,” said Paul Wolfe, National Sustainable Agriculture Senior Policy Specialist. “Currently, however, the program fails to adequately support many types of farmers, crops, and growing practices. It also lacks a strong connection to conservation activities, which are an inherent part of risk management because they make a farm operation more resilient long-term. NSAC thanks Congressman Nolan for championing the Crop Insurance Modernization Act of 2018, and for his leadership in strengthening the farm safety net.”