Projects Funded for James Keeler


Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage Insurance Program: Risk Management Implications for California Ranchers

  • James Keeler
  • Tina Saitone


Specific Objectives of the Project:
The specific objectives of this project are twofold: i) estimate the basis risk (i.e., residual risk remaining after insurance) associated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency’s (RMA) Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage (PRF) Insurance; and ii) determine the degree to which PRF Insurance mitigates forage-production-related risk for ranchers in California based on varying levels of risk aversion.

Summary of Results:
Agricultural producers who are reliant upon rangelands and pasturelands are some of the most vulnerable to weather-related risk given their dependence on climate-sensitive resources. Index-based insurance products, like the Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage Insurance Program, are considered to be an adaptation strategy for mitigating climatic risks. Given that indices are imperfect predictors of losses, residual (basis) risk persists. This study quantifies basis risk and assesses insurance contract quality for nearly 63 million acres of rangelands in California. Basis risk can be summarized by considering false negative probabilities – the probability that an insured producer suffers a loss without receiving an indemnity payment. On California rangelands the false negative probabilities associated with one (both) of insured time intervals failing to indemnify a loss range from 31% - 46% (14% - 25%). When indemnities were paid, in 36% of the cases the payments are not sufficient to compensate for forage-related losses; the average shortfall in indemnity-related compensation ranged from $1.74/acre to $2.73/acre depending upon the location and underlying value of forage.