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Price Analysis, Risk Assessment and Insurance for Organic Crops

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  • Singerman, Ariel

Abstract

This dissertation consists of three essays in which I apply econometric and numerical methods to analyze different aspects of organic agriculture in the U.S. In the first essay cointegration is tested between organic and conventional corn and soybean markets in several locations throughout the U.S. using a unique data set. Organic prices are found to behave like jump processes rather than diffusions, and Monte Carlo methods are developed to compute appropriate critical values for such tests. Findings indicate that no long-run relationship exists between organic and conventional prices, implying that price determination for organic corn and soybean is independent from that for the conventional crops. This suggests that organic corn and soybean prices are driven by demand and supply forces idiosyncratic to the organic market. For each crop, cointegrating spatial relationships are found between prices at the main organic markets. However, such relationships are generally weaker than the ones for the corresponding conventional prices, implying that organic markets are more affected by idiosyncratic shocks than conventional markets.For the second essay, a survey of organic grain and oilseed producers in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin was conducted to collect information about their demographic characteristics, production and price risk management strategies, yields and losses, and crop insurance decisions. The data are analyzed using a discrete choice model to establish which variables influence organic producers' decision of whether to purchase crop insurance and also which ones affect the insurance product choice when applicable. In addition, this study describes the risk profiles of organic producers, and analyzes whether significant variations in yield exist between organic and conventional methods of production. This research may contribute to the design of an organic crop insurance policy in which organic producers would be charged according to their idiosyncratic production risks, rather than the arbitrary 5% blanket premium surcharge currently in use.In the third essay, a framework is developed to examine the 2011 pilot program established by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) to insure organic crops. Given that for insurance purposes RMA links organic crop prices to their conventional counterparts by a fixed percentage, we calibrate our model to reflect the organic and conventional corn markets to illustrate the impacts that such pricing potentially has on Revenue Protection payouts under different scenarios. Findings indicate that at the 75% nominal coverage level, RMA's fixed price factor implies an effective coverage ranging from 45 to 106% depending on what the organic to conventional market price ratio is; resulting, therefore, in lower and higher indemnities compared to those organic producers should get when considering their idiosyncratic revenue distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Singerman, Ariel, 2011. "Price Analysis, Risk Assessment and Insurance for Organic Crops," ISU General Staff Papers 201101010800001065, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:isu:genstf:201101010800001065
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    1. Harwood, Joy L. & Heifner, Richard G. & Coble, Keith H. & Perry, Janet E. & Somwaru, Agapi, 1999. "Managing Risk in Farming: Concepts, Research, and Analysis," Agricultural Economics Reports 34081, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    2. Wright, Brian D, 1979. "The Effects of Ideal Production Stabilization: A Welfare Analysis Under Rational Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 1011-1033, October.
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    5. Singerman, Ariel & Hart, Chad E. & Lence, Sergio H., 2010. "Demand For Crop Insurance By Organic Corn And Soybean Farmers In Three Major Producing States," 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado 60935, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Williams,Jeffrey C. & Wright,Brian D., 2005. "Storage and Commodity Markets," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521023399, April.
    7. Keith H. Coble & Thomas O. Knight & Rulon D. Pope & Jeffery R. Williams, 1996. "Modeling Farm-Level Crop Insurance Demand with Panel Data," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(2), pages 439-447.
    8. Babcock, Bruce A. & Blackmer, A. M., 1992. "Value of Reducing Temporal Input Nonuniformities (The)," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10587, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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    10. Chad E. Hart & Dermot J. Hayes & Bruce A. Babcock, 2006. "Insuring Eggs in Baskets: Should the Government Insure Individual Risks?," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 54(1), pages 121-137, March.
    11. Klonsky, Karen & Greene, Catherine R., 2005. "Widespread Adoption of Organic Agriculture in the US: Are Market-Driven Policies Enough?," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19382, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    12. Chad E. Hart & Dermot J. Hayes & Bruce A. Babcock, 2006. "Insuring Eggs in Baskets: Should the Government Insure Individual Risks?," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 54(1), pages 121-137, March.
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