2022 the third-costliest disaster year on record

Drought-stricken corn
Drought-stricken corn.

WASHINGTON — Last year was the third-costliest year for weather disasters in U.S. history, according to a new analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

There was an estimated $165 billion in total economic losses in 2022. In the agriculture sector, AFBF economists found and reported in the latest Market Intel report, extreme weather caused more than $21 billion in crop losses.

The impact to America’s farms and ranches demonstrates the importance of farm bill programs to help rural communities recover from weather-related disasters, AFBF said. The Market Intel report analyzed and summarized total crop loss estimations across all major weather events for 2022, including hurricanes Fiona and Ian, the June 13 derecho that impacted several central U.S. states, and the ongoing drought affecting much of the Western U.S.

The Market Intel also analyzed the coverage—and coverage gaps—provided by existing risk management programs, such as crop insurance, as well as ad hoc disaster assistance like the Farm Service Agency’s new Emergency Relief Program, previously known as the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program.

According to the Market Intel, “Over $11 billion in losses were covered by existing Risk Management Agency programs as of February 2022. Over $10 billion in losses were not insured through RMA, existed outside policies’ coverage levels, or did not qualify under an existing risk management program,” which highlights the importance of inclusive protections for growers of all crops in all regions of the nation.

The full extent of damage across agriculture is likely far higher as crop loss estimates do not include infrastructure damage, livestock losses, horticulture crop losses or timber losses associated with the weather events.


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