The PRF VI Program is based on the use of (NDVI) data that has been derived from scanners on satellites observing the changes in greenness of vegetation of the earth since 1989. The vegetation index does not explicitly predict individual forage production on a given producer's operation. Instead, the index is related to the amount of vegetation on earth and the changes in greenness over time. The index is correlated with forage production but does not directly predict actual forage production. Key components of the PRF-VI Pilot Program include:
All of EROS's NDVI data and NOAA's temperature data are subjected to rigorous quality control processes to insure that the data is stable and as accurate as possible. Both datasets are widely used as part of the global monitoring system used by various government agencies, including national security and defense organizations. There are multiple satellite systems that have been placed in orbit that are calibrated to each other so that if one fails they can use the other system to cover the same area. In addition, NASA plans to launch a series of satellites using the same sensors and mathematics over the next decade to insure continuity of the program.
When the data is reported by EROS and NOAA, computers automatically log onto these sites, download the data and update the index value. The index values are maintained on two separate computer systems and are reported at the end of each 3-month interval. This value is then made available to insurance companies for computation of indemnity payments via RMA's web site.