The Federal Crop Insurance Program Can Be Made More Effective

FOD-77-7: Published: Dec 13, 1977. Publicly Released: Dec 13, 1977.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Federal crop insurance indemnities would provide little economic relief to the Nation's agricultural producers in the event of widespread crop failures. A major change in basic program objectives is necessary if the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation's (FCIC) insurance program is to attain widespread acceptance.

Under the current program, production guarantees and basic premium rates are set on a county or areawide basis. In crop year 1974, FCIC provided about $1.2 billion of protection on agricultural crops, while a total of $40.1 billion was derived from agricultural crop sales. When adverse weather conditions caused widespread damage in 1974, producers suffered production losses on five major crops valued at $6.9 billion, of which an estimated $420 was incurred by insured farmers. FCIC paid insured producers about 12 percent of the estimated value of their lost production. The federal crop insurance program has not attained the high degree of national acceptance and participation from agricultural producers essential to a sound insurance program. Because FCIC sets production guarantees and basic premium rates for most crops on the basis of the estimated productive capability of land areas and countywide loss history, production guarantees and rates are too high for some producers and too low for others. Establishing the same production guarantee for all producers in the area encourages greater participation by those producers whose average yield is at or below the average yield of the group.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture and the FCIC Board of Directors should develop a personalized crop insurance program with production guarantees and premiums based on the producer's prior yield history.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Mar 5, 2018

Nov 30, 2017

Nov 27, 2017

Nov 21, 2017

Oct 24, 2017

Oct 2, 2017

Aug 24, 2017

Aug 14, 2017

May 15, 2017

May 11, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here