Crop insurance firms also have an interest in the data that’s being collected out in the field.

“John Deere Crop Insurance in particular is doing a lot with ‘automated crop reporting’ and using the precision farming equipment to gather valuable information for crop insurance purposes,” says Chad Glaze, Vine Vest North Inc., in Wausau, Wis. Founded in 1989 to work with Wisconsin cranberry growers and other crops. Today Vine Vest is still focused on crop insurance, covering all types of ag commodities in Wisconsin and surrounding states.

The main objective with using this data for insurance purposes is to reduce the time and effort involved in crop reporting, improving its accuracy and speeding up the processing of claims. As precision farming has become more commonplace, data has become more readily available.

“A lot of that information is exactly what we need for crop insurance,” says Glaze. “It’s how many acres have been planted, GPS maps of the fields, records of production,” Electronic data collection protects everybody, because the more times data changes hands, the more chances there are for errors.”

The use of precision farming data for crop insurance has to be done under federal guidelines that govern yield monitors and gives specific requirements for calibration. Precision farming specialists at the dealership can help farmers get to that point.

Vine Vest has partnered with farm equipment dealers to close equipment sales. “We’re working to bring this triangle together, crop insurance, farmer and dealer network, and make it all connect,” says Glaze.

“We worked with a farmer who is an insurance client of ours and brought him to the local farm equipment dealer’s table. It helped to use the fact that the data gathered from the equipment could be integrated into their crop insurance to make the sale.”

Lanny Faleide, president of Agri ImaGIS Technologies of Fargo, N.D., says his company has been working with crop insurance companies for the past 9 years, providing an analysis of crop loss based on satellite maps.

The crop insurance business has been good to Faleide. He estimates that one-third of his business comes from insurance providers.

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