Four of the nation’s major farm organizations have released a statement saying that an affordable crop insurance program will be their No. 1 priority for the 2012 farm bill debate.

The statement comes as the House and Senate Agriculture Committees announced a stepped up committee hearing schedule that may presage an effort to actually begin writing the next four- or five-year farm bill.

The National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, American Soybean Association and National Sorghum Producers issued a joint statement on the farm bill at the Commodity Classic, the groups’ annual meeting/trade show in Nashville, Tenn.

“Commodity Classic provides our organizations an opportunity to come together to discuss important policy issues facing our industry,” the statement issued by the groups said. “As Congress continues work on the next farm bill, our organizations agree that an affordable crop insurance program is our No. 1 priority.

“We also stand ready to work with House and Senate Ag Committee leaders to create farm programs that provide risk-management tools to growers when they are facing a loss beyond their control.”