WASHINGTON, – North Carolina’s Junior Senator’s amendment to bolster crop insurance fraud protections passed the Senate 94-0 Thursday. U.S. Senator Kay Hagan’s amendment to the 2013 Farm Bill to strengthen crop insurance fraud prevention passed unanimously by a vote of 94 to 0.
"After the largest-ever crop insurance fraud ring was uncovered this year in North Carolina, many North Carolina farmers approached me withconcerns that these bad actors, combined with federal budget woes, could mean the end of federal crop insurance, and I introduced this amendment to support fraud prevention to make sure these honest farmers don't pay the price for the actions of just a few," said Hagan in a press statement. "By equipping the Risk Management Agency with the funds they need, we can more effectively combat fraud and abuse that wastes taxpayer dollars and jeopardizes critical support for North Carolina farmers. I am pleased my bipartisan amendment passed the Senate in what is a true victory for North Carolina's hardworking farmers."
In March of 2013, federal investigators uncovered a ploy to defraud the government out of $100 million from crop insurance programs. It was the largest-ever fraud ring of its kind to be discovered. In the wake of that scheme, Hagan worked to craft her amendment to strengthen fraud prevention and avoid future abuses. Hagan's amendment adds $5 million annually to the Risk Management Agency's budget to ensure it has the necessary resources to combat fraud.
Hagan also worked to defeat an amendment that would have prevented tobacco growers from being eligible for federal assistance for buying private crop insurance.
"This amendment unfairly targeted the nearly 2,000 small tobacco farmers in North Carolina that are doing nothing more than growing a legal crop, and I fought hard to protect our state's farmers and defeat the measure," said Hagan. "The amendment would have done nothing to lower smoking rates or address public health issues associated with smoking, and will only result in the increased importation of tobacco.
"Moreover, denying tobacco farmers crop insurance would make it next to impossible for to obtain financing for their farms, threatening their livelihoods and families. I am pleased that the Senate voted today in favor of fairness and against this amendment that would have a serious negative effect on North Carolina farmers."