Helping Farmers Understand Federal & State Agricultural Policy


July 11, 2023 -

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension worked with farmers to understand the Farm Bill program and the ever-changing federal and state programs or policies.


  • 151 Individuals participated in Farm Bill programming 
  • 277 downloads of MSU Extension bulletins on insurance topics authored by the farm management team
  • 55 individuals participated in insurance programming
  • 68,333 readers of insurance articles authored by MSU Extension
  • 132 viewers of Farm Bill session recordings
  • 160 downloads of the Farm Bill Analyzer Tool

For additional information regarding farm management educational programs, research projects and materials, visit

The 2022 Farm Bill Program & Crop Insurance Decisions: What Fits Your Farm?

For the 2022 production year, producers needed to select which Farm Bill program would work best for their farms. The choice between price loss coverage (PLC) and agricultural risk coverage (ARC) focused on price or yield risk for one production year. The importance of considering crop insurance options that tie into these Farm Bill programs made the decision more complex for producers.

The 2022 Farm Bill Program and Crop Insurance Decisions: What Fits Your Farm? series featured MSU Extension experts, an insurance expert and experts from the Farm Service Agency. At these 1.5 hour-informational meetings, producers received a refresher on the current ARC and PLC program options and discussed specific program details with experts. They also learned about crop insurance options available and the ways they interact with ARC or PLC. Finally, participants worked through case examples using the updated MSU Extension Farm Bill Analyzer Tool. These case examples illustrated how to make better decisions on ARC versus PLC. The program had 151 participants and recordings of online sessions were viewed 132 times.

The Farm Bill Analyzer Tool provides producers with an opportunity to compare potential risk protection from PLC and ARC. Farmers enter information about their farms, including historical yields, planted acres and anticipated yields. This information is combined with county history yield values and projected market prices and yields to offer guidance on which programs producers should select. This tool also included consideration of crop insurance policy options that might be available depending on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program selected. Combined with the webinar and one-on-one producer meetings, the decision tool aided farm managers in selecting the best risk protection for their individual farms. This tool was downloaded for use 160 times.

Farmers discuss agricultural policies and their implications









Helping Farm Managers Navigate Insurance Options

Production concerns brought on by extreme weather and market price volatility were ongoing challenges in 2022. Farm producers looking to manage or reduce impacts from these risks looked to insurance programs as a cost-effective means of aid. Producers needed to identify which policies provided sufficient risk coverage and supported their on-farm production goals. MSU Extension educators produced several resources to assist producers in navigating their insurance decisions.

As part of the Michigan Agriculture Ideas to Grow With conference, MSU Extension educators hosted a webinar on crop insurance decisions for field crop growers. The program reviewed basic components of crop insurance and differences between policies. This review included ways each policy provides protection and advantages offered by each. The program also discussed how the USDA Risk Management Agency, who administers insurance policies, provides beginning farmers with additional benefits. There were 18 participants in this program.

The self-paced online Desire 2 Learn (D2L) course Finding Financial Success in Uncertain Times was offered again in 2022. This course provides several modules on basic principles of farm management and making well-informed decisions. Modules included information on record keeping, finding costs of production and break-even analysis. The final module highlights how crop insurance can offset grain marketing concerns. The course had 37 participants throughout 2022.

MSU Extension authored education bulletins on crop insurance that also continue to be sought-after resources. In 2021, the vegetable team released a bulletin on insurance options for vegetable growers and the farm management team authored a similar bulletin for field crop growers. The farm management team also produced a new bulletin in 2022 focused on insurance options for fruit growers. A total of 277 downloads were reached in 2022 between these three publications.

Articles highlighting additional insurance programs were also published. The animal agriculture team promoted awareness of the Micro Farm Program, a newly available insurance option for beekeepers. The farm management team drew attention to the Post-Application Coverage Endorsement program for field crop growers that sidedress nitrogen. These articles were picked up by various media and reached 68,333 readers.

Agricultural land affected by flooding.


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