Managing Risk with the New Common Crop Insurance Policy (COMBO)

Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension
Iowa State University

Title of Success Story

Managing Risk with the New Common Crop Insurance Policy (COMBO)

Public Value (now or future)
(Impact:  Who benefits beyond participants and how?  What conditions changed?)

Widespread adoption of multiple peril crop insurance in Iowa protects growers from suffering severe losses in the event of widespread weather problems or falling commodity prices.  This ensures financial security and business continuity not only for crop producers but for agricultural lenders, input suppliers and landlords, as well.

(Why is it important to address this issue with education?  What are the desired changes?)

The new Common Crop Insurance Policy (COMBO) was introduced in 2011.  Much of the terminology as well as policy choices and details were new.  Nearly 90% of the corn and soybean acres and 80% of all crop acres in Iowa are covered by multiple peril crop insurance.  Producers need to understand their options in order to choose the policy type, level of guarantee, and insurance units that best meet their individual financial characteristics and tolerance for risk.

(Outputs: activities, numbers reached, publications, products)

Five workshops were held in which 42 participants utilized on-line decision tools to analyze their individual crop insurance needs.  Additional presentations at crop fairs, customer appreciation events, crop production meetings and continuing education conferences reached an additional 3,798 producers, crop advisers and crop insurance agents.  Another 150 clients participated in a webcast about COMBO.  Six crop insurance fact sheets and decision aids were revised and posted on the Ag Decision Maker website, and two new fact sheets were created.  The fact sheets were downloaded 5,076 times and the decision aid was downloaded 133 times.

RESULTS (Outcomes:  specific changes that occurred in Learning, Actions, Conditions; how outcomes were measured)

Based on a survey of producers who attended COMBO workshops or presentations from ISUEO, 51% to 95% correctly answered a series of knowledge questions about aspects of the COMBO policy.  Seventy percent said that information obtained there was an important factor in their decision about what type of crop insurance to purchase, and 9% said it was a deciding factor.  As a result of the workshops and presentations, 30% changed their level of insurance coverage, 9% changed their insurance units, and 16% changed the type of policy they purchased.  This provided them with a higher level of guaranteed revenue, and allowed them to more aggressively forward price their product.

Desired Changes

Crop insurance users learned about the new terminology and features of the COMBO multiple peril crop insurance policy from workshops, conferences, website fact sheets, newsletters, and media articles.  They made changes in their type of policy, coverage level, and insurance units based on the information gained, which resulted in levels of risk more closely aligned with their financial resources and risk preferences.

Extension Lead(s)
(name, position, counties served, contact information)

Farm and Agribusiness Management Team (William Edwards, Extension Economist, team leader,, 515-294-6161).  All counties in Iowa are served, as well as many out-of-state clientele.

Your Position

­­­­­_____Field                                        __X___Campus                         _____Both

POW # and Team

 ­­­­­_____100 Corn and Soybean Production and Protection
­­­­­_____ 110 Dairy
­­­­­__X__ 120 Farm and Business Management
­­­­­_____ 130 Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer
­­­­­_____ 140 Iowa Beef Center
­­­­­_____ 150 Iowa Pork Industry Center
­­­­­_____ 160 Natural Resources and Stewardship

ANR Priority (select all that apply)

­­­­­__X__Global Food Security and Hunger
­­­­­_____Regional Food Systems
­­­­­_____Natural Resources & Environmental Stewardship
­­­­­_____Food Safety
­­­­­_____Sustainable Energy – Biofuels & Biobased Products
­­­­­_____Climate Change

Knowledge Areas: (USDA categories)

Economics of agricultural production and farm management (601)

Continuing Story

___X__ No                _____  Yes (If continuing, what story?)

Major Partners or Collaborators

Risk Management Agency/USDA, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Kirkwood Community College

Where story took place
(Region, campus, multi-regional)


Fiscal Year


Multi-state or Integrated (Ext + Research)

Integrated and Multi-state.

Funding Source

Risk Management Agency/USDA


Risk, insurance, crop


Page last updated: January 13, 2012
Page maintained by Julie Honeick,