Updated online crop insurance decision tools

By Debra Levey Larson
U of I News Bureau

URBANA – A completely revamped crop insurance section of the University of Illinois farmdoc website is being released today along with two new web-based decision tools. The ifarm Premium Calculator provides farmer-paid premiums for insurance products on a per acre basis. The ifarm Insurance Evaluator provides performance evaluations of alternative crop insurance products for a case farm within a county.

“As crop insurance decisions loom for farmers, we expect these two new online tools will help ease the process,” says Gary Schnitkey, U of I agricultural economist and a member of the farmdoc team that created the tools.

The online tools were developed with the assistance of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois.

“Agricultural production is a risky business,” says Scott Wilkins who is the director of economic and societal impact at NCSA and lives on his family’s farm. “My family faces a variety of price, yield, and resource risks, which make our farm income unstable from year to year.  I believe the crop insurance tool is a continuous improvement in the ongoing effort to make sure the data that sets the rates is relevant and stable for the insurance public. As a result, the farmer has better data to manage risks of their operation.”

Schnitkey provided the following descriptions about how the tools can be used.

iFarm Premium Calculator

This 2016 iFarm Crop Insurance Premium Calculator allows users to develop highly customized estimates of their crop insurance premiums, and compare revenue and yield guarantees across all available crop insurance products and elections for their actual farm case.

This online calculator allows a quick but detailed comparison between farm-level and area-level insurance products in terms of cost and guarantee values. Specific case details are accommodated along with a tool for users to calculate their TA-Adjusted APH. It also uses current price and volatility conditions and will track current market conditions through the final release by RMA of 2016 Projected Prices and Volatilities. This tool targets users interested in a quick means to compare insurance premiums for all possible products and election levels in a simple to interpret format.

iFarm Payment Evaluator

This web-based tool has been completely updated for 2016. The Insurance Payment Evaluator develops a case farm for most counties in the major corn and soybean production regions, and provides estimates of premiums for all available crop insurance products for basic and enterprise units by coverage level, along with the expected frequency of payments, average payment per acre, net cost per acre, and risk reductions associated with alternative crop insurance products and election levels in an easily understood format.

The tool uses current price and volatility estimates and will be updated periodically until the final values are established. The tool provides helpful information to producers comparing costs and risk reductions across their available crop insurance alternatives in 2016.

“Evaluations of crop insurance are available for corn and soybeans in the Midwest, Great Plains, and eastern United States,” Schnitkey says. “The tools are also scalable to different platforms including laptop computers, tablets, and phones.”

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