Tackling Tough Issues at the Intersection of Conservation and Crop Insurance

The views presented in these blogs are those of the authors.

Amid much talk of polarization in DC, I am pleased to report that important progress is quietly being achieved by a diverse group working to unleash the ability of U.S. farmers to expand conservation efforts.

AGree’s Conservation and Crop Insurance Task Force (Task Force) is a group of leading researchers, academics, former USDA leaders, producers, and representatives from farm-based and environmental NGOs, developing innovative ways to remove roadblocks and build pathways to increase adoption of conservation practices through federal crop insurance and conservation programs.

Our membership spans multiple states and bridges the political divide. I am proud to be part of the group because, despite our differences, we have reached consensus.

After several years of dialogue, which was informed by research and analysis, the Task Force agreed on recommendations that will empower farmers to broaden conservation practices on working lands across the United States and will help to maintain a viable and defensible crop insurance program.

We agree that USDA should strengthen its data analysis capacity to quantify the impacts of conservation practices on crop yields and risk. In addition, we believe USDA can better support producers already using conservation practices, and more clearly encourage others to adopt practices that enrich the health of soils, water, and wildlife on working lands.

We look forward to soon sharing the results of our efforts, which will give producers the confidence they need to improve profits and productivity while also enhancing environmental outcomes.

As AGree’s Co-Chair, I am encouraged by AGree’s ability to bring together diverse stakeholders from across the agricultural community to forge consensus on controversial issues. I am also heartened by the vision of leaders in Congress who are working with AGree to explore these ideas for the farm bill and ultimately the wellbeing of American agriculture and working lands. And I am more convinced than ever that when we sit down at the same table, actually listen to one another, and work with patient determination, we can overcome DC divides to improve policies.

Jim Moseley is an Indiana farmer, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and AGree Co-Chair.

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