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Crop insurance can help to maintain healthy soil, study finds

A new study find that adoption of conservation practices isn't being limited by crop insurance.

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Erin Ehnle Brown / Grand Vale Creative LLC
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Crop insurance isn't a barrier to adoption of conservation practices and has a role in helping farmers to maintain healthy soil, according to a new peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Environmental Management .

During the study, researchers from Purdue University, Arizona State University, and the Nature Conservancy used interviews and a multi-state survey to determine if crop insurance requirements limited cover crops and conservation tillage for corn producers in the Midwest, according to a written statement from National Crop Insurance Services promoting the study.

According to the study:

“Questionnaire responses indicate that crop insurance was not limiting conservation adoption. When given a list of potential limiting factors for conservation adoption, including cost and time/labor required, crop insurance was perceived as the least limiting, in comparison to all other factors, for both conservation tillage and cover crops.”

Among the survey findings.:

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  • Fewer than 6% of farmers believed crop insurance was limiting conservation adoption.
  • Respondents were already using both crop insurance and conservation on their farms; 90% were enrolled in crop insurance, 60% used conservation tillage, and 25% planted cover crops.
  • Adoption rates of conservation practices were higher among respondents enrolled in crop insurance than those not using crop insurance.
  • Both crop insurance and conservation were credited by farmers as being important and complementary tools to their risk management strategies.

National Crop Insurance Services is a nonprofit trade association based in Overland Park, Kan. According to its written statement:
"Despite the clear evidence that crop insurance requirements are not barriers to conservation, researchers lamented the fact that some members of the agricultural media are perpetuating a myth that crop insurance and cover crops are mutually exclusive."

Related Topics: AGRICULTURESOIL HEALTH
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