Evaluating the Prevented Planting Program

The Prevented Planting Program plays a critical role in federal crop insurance by providing financial support to farmers facing adverse weather conditions that hinder crop planting by specified deadlines. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA), which retained Agralytica to conduct an evaluation of the program, giving us the opportunity to provide insights into its impact on American agriculture.

The Challenge

It had been more than a decade since the last review of the Prevented Planting Program, and since then, American agriculture had experienced several changes in technology, production practices, and input costs. Some industry representatives believed that Prevented Planting payments being made to farmers were excessive and not reflective of the costs the program was designed to cover.

Given these realities, RMA solicited Agralytica to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the program to ensure it was providing a risk management tool that was up-to-date and met the needs of agricultural producers.

The Approach

Agralytica’s approach was multi-faceted, and involved the compilation of crop production budgets, extensive expert interviews, and the development of standardized budget formats. Each budget category was linked to appropriate publicly-available inflation indices.

Our team then mapped the published budgets for 32 crops to the standardized format, calculating the expenses farmers typically incurred by the prevented planting date. These findings were then juxtaposed with existing prevented planting rates for each crop.

Agralytica’s work led directly to improvements in the Prevented Planting Program, saving taxpayers money and strengthening program integrity.

The Outcomes

The project yielded two significant outcomes:

  1. A set of rate recommendation adjustments.
  2. The establishment of a standardized methodology and process for RMA to update these estimates periodically.

Several of Agralytica’s rate recommendations were implemented. This impacted crops like corn and onions, leading to substantial taxpayer savings. The study findings were also made publicly available, promoting transparency and informed decision-making.

Looking at the Future

Overall, the evaluation enhanced the Prevented Planting Program’s capacity to support American farmers, strengthened program integrity, and put RMA firmly in control of driving program value into the future.