Costly weather extremes
Record-breaking crop insurance payouts for farmers should spur some attention from elected officials about the need to address climate change.
According to a recent Natural Resources Defense Council Report, the Federal Crop Insurance Program paid out an average of $4.1 billion a year to farmers for crop losses from 2001 to 2010. But the agency paid out a record-breaking $17.3 billion in 2012 for crop losses.
Indiana was fifth in the nation for crop insurance claims with more than $1.1 billion.
The exponential increase in payouts was the result of one of the hottest and driest years on record. Climate scientists blame global warming for the spate of extreme weather that caused the crop losses and warn that action is needed. Not only do politicians need to take a more serious look at potential policy changes, but farmers will need to consider developing new strategies for dealing with the challenges climate change brings.