Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Backwards Thinking?

A recent article in Civil Eats highlights what should, but sadly isn’t, obvious: If we tied crop insurance to improved soil health, farmers might be less vulnerable to what it is that makes them need crop insurance in the first place—“severe weather and bad years of production.”

As it stands now, farmers who employ healthy soil-building practices like cover cropping, actually lose out under the U.S. Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP).

Crop insurance is one of those wonky policy issues most of us don’t think much about.  But we should, says a new study from Cornell University.  As the Civil Eats article reports:

In a new paper, Cornell University assistant professor of agricultural business and finance Joshua Woodard and post-doctoral research assistant Leslie Verteramo Chiu argue that tying the Crop Insurance Program to the health of a farm’s soil could make it a powerful tool for promoting more sustainable and resilient farming.

As unprecedented heatwaves ground U.S. flights in Phoenix, Ariz., and create unbearable conditions in other parts of the world, it’s way past time to rethink the $8 billion in annual, taxpayer-funded crop insurance payouts to farmers growing crops like GMO corn, cotton and soy.

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