Comparing survey-based and programme-based yield data: implications for the U.S. Agricultural Risk Coverage-County programme


One of the changes introduced by the U.S. 2018 Farm Bill in the Agricultural Risk Coverage-County (ARC-CO) programme is the requirement to use Risk Management Agency (RMA) programme-based data rather than National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) survey-based data. This study compares the NASS and RMA county yield data for the period 1991–2015 and finds no systematic differences between the two data sets. Additionally, using RMA or NASS yield data results in relatively small and statistically insignificant differences in the ARC-CO payments. The spatial disparities across neighbouring counties in ARC-CO payments are also similar, no matter whether NASS or RMA data are used.

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  1. 1.

    From here on, NASS yield in this paper refers to NASS planted acre yield.

  2. 2.

    We drop the counties that have separate irrigated and non-irrigated yields but do not have information on corresponding acreages.

  3. 3.

    We do not use the time subscript to simplify the notation.


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Correspondence to Xiaofei Li.

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Li, X., Shen, Z., Harri, A. et al. Comparing survey-based and programme-based yield data: implications for the U.S. Agricultural Risk Coverage-County programme. Geneva Pap Risk Insur Issues Pract 45, 184–202 (2020).

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  • Agricultural risk coverage
  • Farm policy
  • NASS
  • RMA