WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2015 – The crop insurance industry and farm groups are trying to head off any attempt by congressional budget writers to cut subsidies for the coverage.

In a letter to the House and Senate Budget committees, trade groups representing insurers, farmers and agribusiness interests said President Obama’s proposed cuts to the program would be “crippling.”

“Attacking farmers’ most important risk management tool only weakens the farm safety net in the bipartisan farm bill that Congress carefully crafted after years of deliberation and more than 40 hearings,” the letter says.

The president’s proposed budget would cut crop insurance by $1.1 billion in fiscal 2016 and nearly $16 billion over the next 10 years primarily through a 10-percentage-point reduction in premium subsidies for harvest-price revenue policies. The rest of the savings would come from tightening prevented-planting coverage.

“As the House and Senate develop their own budget proposals, we urge you to protect crop insurance and recognize its central importance to farmers, lenders and all of rural America,” the letter says.

The Budget committees are preparing to write budget resolutions that GOP leaders hope to pass by April.