New AGree White Papers

Four new papers explore intersections between big data, crop insurance, and conservation.

  • Innovations in Agriculture Data Collection: Agriculture data collection is growing rapidly, with the global market for “smart agriculture” estimated at $5.1 billion. Innovations in data collection and powerful analytical tools, including AI and machine learning, are driving technological advancements that could increase production efficiency and reduce environmental impacts. This paper by Doug Lawrence (former NRCS Deputy Chief for Soil Survey and Resource Assessment) and William Salas (President of Applied GeoSolutions) explores a range of agriculture data collection trends from the public and private sectors. It describes how these data collection efforts could help USDA more effectively target its data-related resources and strengthen agricultural production and conservation. Read more here.
  • Specialty Crop Risk Management: Farming is capital-intensive and risky; programs that assist with risk management such as crop insurance are critical to farm success. However, risk management assistance is lacking for specialty crop farmers, and this impacts their ability to access credit. This paper was authored by Cara Fraver (National Young Farmers Coalition), Scott Marlow (Rural Advancement Foundation International) and Jonathan Coppess (Coppess Consulting, LLC). It examines two key federal risk management tools for these growers: Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) and Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP). It proposes recommendations for strengthening these programs so beginning farmers can easily access credit, further market diversification, and enable more widespread adoption of conservation practices. Read more here.
  • Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage: Pasture and rangeland accounts for well over 700 million acres of land. Livestock producers face many of the same risks as crop producers. However, livestock producers have had access to USDA insurance products only since 2005. This paper, authored by Brandon Willis (former Administrator of USDA’s Risk Management Agency), summarizes the history of the multi-peril crop insurance policies and examines USDA’s Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage (PRF) insurance program. It also discusses the economic need for such programs and highlights opportunities to improve PRF to help producers protect against major production risks. Read more here.
  • The Role of the Banking and Financing Sector in Encouraging Conservation Practices and Organic Transitions. Could the banking and finance sectors create new products that encourage producers and land managers to adopt conservation practices and/or transition to organic production? This paper, written by Josh Woodard (Cornell University, Ag-Analytics), Bruce Sherrick and Jonathan Coppess (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), and Dave Muth Jr. (Alternative Equity Advisors), explores incentive programs or approaches that could be developed by the banking and finance sectors to facilitate such transitions. Read more here.