The federal crop insurance program is well-positioned today to promote resilient agricultural practices that mitigate the future impact of climate change. In light of climate change risk, this Article examines issues relating to climate change and the federal crop insurance program. Part I of this Article examines the present risk of climate change in agriculture and discusses recent steps taken to address climate change in agriculture in general, specifically within the federal crop insurance program. As a condition to federal crop insurance coverage, a farmer-insured must utilize “good farming practices” to obtain coverage for covered causes of loss. Part II examines the role of “good farming practices” determinations and its effects on climate change. This Article addresses three cases decided within the past five years and contends that the increasing number of cases in the federal courts indicate that an amendment to the “good farming practices” standard may have a significant effect in promoting climate change mitigation. This Article concludes by proposing an amendment to the “good farming practices” standard. The proposed standard dictates that if a farmer utilizes “sustainable, resilient and soil-building agricultural practices,” then such utilization must be weighed as a substantial factor in support of a “good farming practices” determination by the Risk Management Agency.
Chad G. Marzen & J. G. Ballard,
Climate Change and Federal Crop Insurance,
B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev.