A Real Safety Net
In 2002, typical corn farmers in Mercer County, Ohio, and in many parts of the Midwest, suffered from yields that were about half the size of the previous year's yields, due to a drought. As a result, farmers saw their average revenue drop to $161 per acre, down from an expected $350 per acre. However, because average prices for corn were high that season, farmers did not receive assistance from current safety net programs. With Durbin-Brown's revenue counter-cyclical program, farmers would get protection when they need it: when they experience a drop in revenue.
In 2005, the same corn farmers, and many others throughout the country, experienced a very different situation that resulted in unnecessary payments. In that year, prices were low but yields were up. However, because existing programs are triggered only by low prices regardless of yields, farmers received payments on average of $99 per acre-payments that were not really needed during a good revenue year. In contrast, Durbin-Brown's proposal would have avoided excessive payments by focusing on farmers' loss in revenue.
See how the Durbin-Brown Farm Safety Net Improvement Act compares to existing programs on a crop by crop, or state by state basis.