It seems like the year is flying by. It’s already April.

Not long ago I talked to you about the Program Performance Assessment, or PPA – a method we recently developed to make the large claims process run smoother for our Regional Offices. Today, I want to point out another example of a great innovation that took place over the past year despite the challenges COVID posed.

Our Compliance Offices throughout the country do an outstanding job in fraud prevention. The proof is in the consistently low improper payment rate. To sustain these positive results, we need to maintain existing skill sets and stay current in the use of new technologies available.

Last October, we formed the Data Analysis Training Team to develop virtual training to support our mission of ensuring the integrity of Federal crop insurance. Over the past six months, this team developed several processes to standardize analysis across RMA for Compliance Investigators. Naturally with COVID, the team was tasked with developing training materials that could be delivered virtually.

RMA Data Scientist, Jeff Bloomquist, reviews maps as part of developing training modules for Compliance Investigators.

The goal of these training modules was to begin focusing on real world situations that create a starting point for investigators to use and apply knowledge gained to their projects and policy reviews. Each training module can be repeated and moving forward we will develop new modules to support the development of RMA Compliance Investigators over time.

“This effort helps promote standards and process documentation that allows the agency to help develop skill sets needed by the investigators,” explains RMA Data Scientist, Jeff Bloomquist. “The virtual training effort is important because it helps grow and foster a base level of understanding for all Compliance Investigators at RMA.”

The Data Analysis Training Team, composed of 12 people, developed a series of virtual classroom topics that covered geospatial technology, spatial operational datasets, Compliance specific tools, and RMA Tableau Dashboards. Much of the training incorporated instructor led hands on exercises for participants. In all, 78 members of our Compliance team (roughly 20% of our total workforce), completed the modules that Jeff’s group put together.

Screenshots of a Compliance Investigator’s training module, with a Prevent Plant Locations Heat Map developed by RMA’s Data Analysis Training Team

Hats off to the Data Analysis Training Team for their priceless contributions, and I recognize our teammates in Compliance who have completed this valuable training. It will have a major impact on our agency’s capabilities. I’m confident that the tremendous effort put into creating this training and applying the lessons will pay off in spades.

– Richard