Monday, May 8, 2017

Members in the News: Woodard, Verteramo Chiu, Loveridge & Shupp

Joshua Woodard & Leslie Verteramo Chiu,
Cornell University

Want Healthier Soil? Link it to Crop Insurance
By: Civil Eats - May 2, 2017

The world’s biggest crop insurance program, the U.S. Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) provides coverage to help farmers recover from “severe weather and bad years of production.” But recently, a pair of Cornell University scientists looked at what might happen if crop insurance were also tied to soil quality—that is, if insurance companies began considering soil data when determining rates.

In a new paper, Cornell University assistant professor of agricultural business and finance Joshua Woodard and post-doctoral research assistant Leslie Verteramo Chiu argue that tying the Crop Insurance Program to the health of a farm’s soil could make it a powerful tool for promoting more sustainable and resilient farming. Including soil data in crop insurance criteria, they write, would “open the door to improving conservation outcomes” and help farmers better manage risks to food security and from climate change.


Read the entire article on Civil Eats

Scott Loveridge & Robert Shupp, Michigan State University
A New Study Explores The Complexities Of Tornadoes, Risk, Poverty, And Housing
By: Forbes- May 3, 2017

A new study from researchers at Michigan State University examines the growing number of mobile homes in the United States and their inherent vulnerability to tornadic storms. There are roughly 9 million mobile homes in the United States according to a press release sent to me by Andy Henion, Senior Communications Manager at Michigan State University. The United States averages well over 1000 tornadoes per year. The risk of fatalities is greater in mobile homes, which may be the only viable housing option for some people. I wanted to further explore the complexities of risk, poverty, housing, and tornadoes.

Michigan State researchers recently published, "Double Danger in the Double Wide: Dimensions of Poverty, Housing Quality and Tornado Impacts," in the journal Regional Science and Urban Economics. They examined U.S. counties in tornado-prone regions from 1980 to 2014 and found that counties with large income disparities are more vulnerable to tornadoes. They particularly noted that the measure of housing quality (mobile homes as a proportion of housing units) is a strong indicator of tornado-related deaths. Economics professor Mark Skidmore, one of the authors of the study, said

"The number of mobile homes increased from just 315,218 in 1950 to 8.7 million in 2010 – a trend that has been driven largely by persistent income inequality in the U.S."
Read the entire article on Forbes

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