If Lawmakers Were to Say ‘Yes,’ Your History with No-Till, Cover Crops and Rotations Could Slice Insurance Costs by $4.50 Per Acre

Passage of a unique concept that got Congressional consideration during the writing of the 2018 Farm Bill could put more dollars in the pockets of no-tillers. It’s an idea that farmers who use no-till, cover crops and conservation-minded crop rotations to protect the soil should be rewarded with an equivalent of auto insurance’s “good driver discount” when it comes to paying crop insurance premiums.

In fact, the Izaak Walton League of America maintains farmers who utilize no-till and seed covers may be paying up to twice as much in premiums than is justified by crop insurance risks. 

Representing 10% of the lowest-risk growers, the data on these overpayments were based on soil type and the conservation measures being used.

Less Risk, Less Cost

“Farmers who adopt conservation measures that build soil health, increase the organic-matter content of the soil and increase the soil’s water-holding capacity reduce the likelihood that they will suffer a larger crop loss in a very dry or very wet year,” says Duane Hovorka, the League’s agricultural program director. 

“Yet these ‘high conservation/low risk’ farmers pay the same premiums for crop insurance as farmers who have not adopted soil health measures and are more likely to have a crop loss covered by crop insurance.”

With taxpayers footing 62% of the crop insurance bill, the League believes both farmers and taxpayers would benefit from more extensive adoption of several conservation measures. 

Backed by research data, this includes the fact that most no-tilled soils are more resilient to drought…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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