Our Work

The Conservation and Crop Insurance Task Force works collaboratively with diverse interests to devise practical strategies for driving increased adoption of conservation practices on working lands while maintaining a viable crop insurance program. 

Recent Activities:

  • Informed new 2018 farm bill laws on cover crop termination and conservation data (read more here)
  • Commissioned new white papers on issues at the intersection of conservation and risk management, including: Banking, Finance and Conservation; Pasture, Rangeland and Forage Insurance; Agriculture Data Collection Innovation; Specialty Crop Risk Management; and Integrated Livestock Systems.
  • On behalf of 15 diverse agriculture leaders, published a Letter in Science (Oct 2018).
  • Informed the Agricultural Data Act of 2018, which was introduced by Senators Thune (R-SD) and Klobuchar (D-MN) to strengthen agricultural data analysis at USDA and facilitate research about the impacts of on-farm conservation practices on farm and ranch profitability, soil health, and crop yield.
  • Briefed and engaged leadership in several USDA agencies and Congressional offices about the need to link conservation and crop insurance at the federal level.
  • Provided feedback to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) about the Census of Agriculture regarding questions on conservation practice adoption, resulting in changes to the Census.
  • Promoted the importance of data integration and analysis with multiple USDA agencies, urging them to use existing data to understand the risk profiles of soil types and the yield risk impacts of conservation practices on certain soil types, while protecting the privacy of individual producers.
  • Cosponsored research on integrating soil data into crop insurance rate determinations that was published in the American Journal of Agriculture Economics. The article highlights important evidence showing the relationship between soil type and risk. 
  • Published a paper on Crop Insurance, Credit, and Conservation, which provides important evidence showing how lending practices impact agricultural investment decisions and conservation outcomes. 

For more CCITF research, please click here.

Our Priorities

  • Understanding the Correlation Between Conservation Practices and Risk: The Task Force supports analysis of the impact of conservation practices on soil health and yield risk. Significant federal funds are invested in conservation; we need to understand the public and private benefits of these investments, while protecting producer privacy.
  • Proposing Near-Term Changes to the Crop Insurance Program: Where appropriate and supported by data, the Task Force is examining potential improvements to the federal crop insurance program that could support adoption of conservation practices. Those improvements could include recommendations to recognize NRCS practices as Good Farming Practices, ensure that cover crop determinations are made through Good Farming Practices procedures and by local agricultural experts when available, and ensuring farmers have access to assistance in understanding the appeal process when claims are denied.
  • Improving Data Integration Across USDA: Where feasible, the Task Force is advocating for improved data integration and sharing across USDA agencies and with private and public researchers, through a secure data warehouse that would fully protect data confidentiality while granting researchers the ability to more easily and accurately analyze data.
  • Updating USDA Data Collection Methods: The Task Force is studying potential improvements to USDA’s conservation data collection mechanisms and surveys, including but not limited to the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), Census of Agriculture, Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), and National Resources Inventory (NRI).