No. The primary driver behind planting decisions is crop prices. The 320 million acres planted in 2015 was less than the 328 million planted acres averaged from 1981 to 2014. There is no analytical or science-based foundation to support the statement that crop insurance is a significant driver of planting decisions. For a brief overview of the literature on land use and crop insurance, click here.
Further, the 2014 Farm Bill layered additional measures to ensure conservation compliance on all acres where crop insurance is purchased, and fragile lands are protected by eliminating crop insurance premium support for farmers if they damage wetlands or native sod.
Farmers are taking actions to improve the conservation and environmental benefits of the lands they farm. Area enrolled in the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) programs increased from 17 million acres in 2007 to about 40 million acres in 2010. In addition, soil erosion on cropland decreased 41 percent between 1982 and 2010. In fact, more than 98 percent of farmers have met the certification for conservation compliance requirements in the 2014 Farm Bill.
For information on these conservation benefits click here.