Bipartisan bill by Collins ramps up financial education, risk management for farmers

Federal programs that help farmers manage financial risk through diversification, marketing, or conservation practices would be reauthorized and improved under bipartisan legislation recently introduced by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).

“When it comes to agriculture and unpredictable weather patterns, diversification is the key to resiliency,” Sen. Collins said. “From improving irrigation systems to implementing conservation measures to encouraging value-added processing, our bipartisan legislation would make investments that support farms for the long term.” 

The Agriculture Management Assistance Act of 2023, S. 795, which Sen. Collins cosponsored on March 14 with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), would reauthorize and enhance the Partnership for Risk Management Education and the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) programs.  

Specifically, S. 795 would increase AMA funding to $30 million, increase funding limits for farmers to $200,000 over five years, and expand the eligible uses for these funds to include: soil health improvements, composting, implementing organic farming, developing value-added processing, and food safety certification in addition to existing authorized uses such as water management structure and soil erosion control, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Collins’ staff.

“In addition to helping farmers reduce financial risk, investments in these types of projects would also help strengthen rural economies and improve food security,” said Sen. Collins.

Currently, the AMA is only available to 16 states — including Maine — that have historically low rates of participation in the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP), the summary said, noting that S. 795 would amend the FCIA to improve education and risk management assistance.

The Maine Potato Board supports the proposed bill.