Activist group links climate change to increased crop insurance payments

A new report finds that extreme weather is costing taxpayers billions of dollars in crop insurance payments to farmers, according to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG). (FOX 9)

A new report finds that extreme weather is costing taxpayers billions of dollars in crop insurance payments to farmers, according to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Crop insurance is purchased by farmers and subsidized by the federal government to protect against natural disasters such as drought or flooding.

In an analysis of Department of Agriculture data, the EWG found that farmers had received more than $143.5 billion in compensation from 1995 to 2020 across the country.

EWG’s annual figures show payout amounts start at $1.5 billion in 1995 and peak at $17.4 billion in 2012. Payouts decline in subsequent years, but increase again to reach $10. .6 billion in 2019.

In Minnesota, payments also increased gradually throughout the 25-year analysis until 2014, when payments topped $1.3 billion. The amount fell to $91 million the following year, but rose again to $800 million in 2019.

The two counties in Minnesota with the highest compensation are Marshall ($359 million) and Polk ($302 million) in the Red River Valley.

In a press release, EWG Midwest Director Anne Schechinger said “climate change is already hitting” farmers at taxpayer expense.

“The numbers don’t lie,” she said. “Congress must reform the crop insurance program in the next farm bill, so that the program helps farmers prepare for and adapt to climate change.”

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