Good Farming Practices

The Conservation and Crop Insurance Task Force is currently advocating for provisions in the farm bill to incentivize greater adoption of conservation practices across U.S. working lands. This includes strengthening federal risk management programs so they empower farmers to implement successful conservation practices.

The Task Force believes that agronomic practices that improve soil health and water quality can reduce producers’ long-term risk. Therefore, we recommend:

  • Recognizing Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservation practices and enhancements as Good Farming Practices without exception
  • Ensuring that all cover crop determinations are made through the Good Farming Practices procedures, utilizing the expertise of local agricultural experts, such as NRCS and Cooperative Extension when available, or the NRCS cover crop guidelines when local agricultural expertise is not available
  • Making the long-term sustainability of agriculture part of the purpose of the crop insurance program
  • Ensuring that farmers have access to assistance in understanding the appeals process when claims are denied
  • Ensuring that claims adjusters and crop insurance agents have the latest information about how conservation practice are used, and,
  • Bringing the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s voice to the Federal Crop Insurance Corporations Board.

By eliminating roadblocks to increased conservation, the Task Force aims to maintain a strong and defensible crop insurance program that acknowledges the risk-reducing benefits of conservation practices.

Learn more:

  • Efficiency Impacts of Utilizing Soil Data in the Pricing of the Federal Crop Insurance Program: This article in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics provides a proof of concept for integrating high-resolution soil data into federal crop insurance rate determinations. Joshua Woodard and Leslie J. Verteramo-Chiu, March 2017. 
  • Crop Insurance, Credit, and Conservation: This paper examines the relationship between credit risk and the Federal Crop Insurance program and discusses how lending practices impact both agricultural investment decisions and conservation outcomes. Joshua Woodard and Scott Marlow, April 2017.
  • Four Papers on the U.S. Federal Crop Insurance Program: These papers explore federal crop insurance including complex and controversial aspects of the program and creative ideas for change. March 2016.
    • Soil, Conservation, and Federal Crop Insurance. By Joshua D. Woodard.
    • Potential Conservation Implications of Federal Crop Insurance Actual Production History (APH) Procedures. By Barry J. Barnett and Ryan Stockwell.
    • Public and Private Roles in Agricultural Risk Transfer. By Barry Barnett, Keith Coble, and Stephanie Mercier.
    • Private Sector Risk Management Tools. By Mike Boehlje and Steve Hofing