Farmers face at least $3.6 billion in uncovered losses from 2020 natural disasters

The American Farm Bureau estimates 2020 natural disasters created $6.5 billion in crop losses alone, with less than half covered by indemnities through the USDA Risk Management Agency.

Associate economist Danny Munch tells Brownfield there were a record 22 weather events last year that surpassed $1 billion in economic damages including hurricanes, wildfires, drought and the Midwest derecho.

He says the overall ag losses from 2020 natural disasters are much higher considering this data did not include livestock, infrastructure, timber and other ag related factors.

“Really no crop commodities were spared in 2020 because of these storms and no farmers were really left unscathed. Overall, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) estimates $96.4 billion in economic damage.”

Munch says the data showcases the need for programs like Wildfires & Hurricanes Indemnity Plus, which has not been renewed for 2020.

“We really want to use these numbers as a baseline for discussions moving forward when we look at any possible extensions of the WHIP+ program, if it is made to cover 2020 losses, as well as any future discussions on disaster aid, insurance programs and eventually into our farm bill discussions.”

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency more than 100 Presidential Disaster Declarations were made in in 2020, with 30 declarations so far in 2021. Munch says farmers impacted by severe weather should explore the many insurance options through the RMA and have a secure plan for future weather events.  

Interview with Danny Munch

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