News + Notes: USDA Awards $6.5 Million for Farm Risk Management Education, Global Debt Issuers Weigh In on Cybersecurity and More
USDA Awards $6.5M for Farm Risk Management Education
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has selected 22 partnering organizations from its Risk Management Education (RME) program to receive approximately $6.5 million to educate underserved, small-scale and organic producers on farm risk management and climate-smart farm practices.
The funding, provided by USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), will aid nonprofits, land grant universities and historically black colleges and universities in developing training and resources for agricultural producers about risk management options.
This round of investment builds upon an equal amount that RMA has already provided in partnerships since 2021.
“This funding and these partnerships are integral to our outreach efforts in communities that historically have not had access to training about risk management options,” stated RMA administrator Marcia Bunger, who emphasized the need to help growers and livestock producers apply risk management resources to their farming businesses.
Staci Emm, a professor and extension educator at the University of Nevada, Reno, a 2023 RME recipient, said the university’s relationship with the RMA is critical in identifying producers’ risk management needs. “And then working with RMA to address those needs is the key to success for Nevada producers.”
Cybersecurity Practices Among Global Debt Issuers
A recent survey by Moody’s Investors Service revealed a significant increase in cybersecurity budgets and C-suite visibility of cyber risks among global debt issuers. The survey aimed to assess cybersecurity practices and the potential risk they pose to the credit profiles of debt issuers.
The responses from over 1,700 leaders revealed that cybersecurity budgets rose by 70% from 2019 to 2023. The median allocation of technology budgets dedicated to cybersecurity increased from 5% in 2019 to 8%. However, respondents said the growing costs of cybersecurity are putting pressure on their budgets.
Transferring these risks has also become more costly. Cyber insurance premiums saw a median increase of 50% between 2020 and 2022, and sectors such as health care, housing and higher education reported a 94% increase.
According to Leroy Terrelonge, vice president and analyst, cyber credit risk at Moody’s, this rise in premiums can be attributed to a steep increase in ransomware attacks during the pandemic.
“Cybersecurity’s enterprise-wide visibility has improved while budgets have grown 70% in the last five years,” Terrelonge said. “But advanced cyber practices remain out of reach for many issuers, and survey responses raise questions about the effectiveness of some cyber initiatives.”
Ukraine Launches War Risk Analysis Platform
Ukraine has unveiled a data platform that enables insurers, investors and governments to analyze war risks, with Marsh McLennan assisting in its design and testing. The platform provides comprehensive mapping of war-related incidents since the Russian invasion in February 2022, offering insights into the frequency, type and location of attacks, as well as the assets targeted and damage levels sustained.
Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, which operates the platform, stated that “76% of communities in Ukraine have had no war-related incidents this year. This demonstrates that much of Ukraine is open for investment now.”
John Doyle, president and CEO of Marsh McLennan, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the platform’s role in fostering investment confidence by enabling more accurate risk evaluation.
The launch of the platform follows Marsh McLennan’s commitment in June to provide pro bono services to create a platform for transparent war risk assessment in Ukraine.
The platform, which aggregates data from various sources — including the police, military, security services, rescue services, transport services and government institutions — marks a significant step in Ukraine’s recovery and transformation journey. &