Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Without Soil Data, Crop Insurance Pricing is a Bust

The U.S. Department of Agriculture first authorized Federal Crop Insurance in the 1930s to protect farmers ravaged by the Dust Bowl. Federal Crop Insurance provides farmers with some economic protection for the enormous risks that comes with the job of growing crops, from unpredictable weather to rampant pests. However, this insurance doesn’t take into account one of the most crucial aspects to farming: soil.

Soil type and quality have a significant impact on crop yield, but the USDA does not integrate soil data into calculations that determine insurance rates. By not accounting for this in determining these premiums, the government’s models are imprecise. By matching insurance data with soil information, Federal Crop Insurance could become more efficient and beneficial to each farmer.

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