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How a USDA Program on the Verge of Adoption Could Transform American Agriculture

[Effingham, Illinois – May 31, 2022] The proposed task force called for by the newly introduced Strengthening the Agriculture and Food Supply Chain Act (H.R. 7675) will have several important goals, including providing specific recommendations on industry best practices and risk-mitigation actions.

The Biden-Harris Administration just announced an initiative to cut costs for farmers by increasing technical assistance for “precision agriculture” and other nutrient management tools.

These are all significant efforts aimed at helping farmers, ranchers and the food supply chain, but this activity begs the question:

Why Not Finish What’s Nearly Done?

The Acreage Crop Reporting Streamlining Initiative (ACRSI) established a framework for farmers to submit planted acres to the USDA and have the common information shared with the farmer’s Approved Insurance Provider (AIP).

Started in 2010 by order of Congress, in recent years the ACRSI initiative has been piloted on multiple occasions in a handful of Midwestern states.

Why not push this ongoing initiative to completion? Launching ACRSI could reduce the need for spending on these new programs and can in fact be shown to save both farmers and taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

projected savings

Projected savings based on 4.7% fewer acres reported when using precision ag planting equipment. The more acres that are reported using this method, the greater the savings.

Why not enable farmers to use the geospatial field boundary data collected on the farm to electronically report exactly what they plant? And save a 4.7%—a figure proven in pilots—on Federally subsidized crop insurance premiums while they do it? Why not enable the data they submit to the USDA to be securely shared between the RMA, FSA, NASS and NRCS to help them quickly and easily analyze the data so they’ll know where to focus their efforts on helping American farmers? But the USDA is on the clock. Missed deadlines and obligations have hampered the efforts of the two previous Administrations to ensure that ACRSI technology is adopted and deployed.

The Ag Industry Has the Technology

Ultimately, ACRSI will allow automated reporting from the farmer’s precision farming equipment or farm management system. What better time to leverage the technological investment American producers make each and every season? Technology is not static, and it’s increasingly valuable on the farm and elsewhere.

Let’s Do This

National and international events place us at a tipping point. American farmers have the technology, and we can leverage the millions they invest each and every season. USDA agencies recognize that automated data collection improves the timeliness and accuracy of their work, and will certainly kick-start future Climate-Smart Commodities projects. We’re so close. We just need your help for final deployment and adoption. Let’s work together to make ACRSI a shining example of how a partnership of government, the private sector and tens of thousands of American farmers can collaborate to help the agriculture industry truly Build Back Better.

Why not?