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Billions in farming insurance coverage pay-outs weigh on US taxpayers

Losses resulting from drought and extra moisture are leading to a excessive insurance coverage pay-out invoice to farmers within the US. Picture: Pixabay

Between 1995 and 2020, farmers within the US obtained greater than US$143,5 billion (about R2,2 trillion) in federal crop insurance coverage pay-outs, a lot of it subsidised by taxpayers.

Based on a brand new Environmental Working Group (EWG) evaluation of knowledge from the US Division of Agriculture (USDA), most of those pay-outs had been linked to excessive climate exacerbated by local weather change.

About 61% of the of whole crop insurance coverage funds, through the 26-year interval beneath evaluation, or US$87,6 billion (R1,34 trillion), was paid to farmers for losses resulting from drought and extra moisture.

These two phenomena had been changing into each extra frequent and extra excessive in lots of elements of the nation, due to the quickly worsening local weather emergency, the report mentioned.

“The numbers don’t lie: the local weather disaster is already pummelling US farmers at taxpayers’ expense,” mentioned Anne Schechinger, EWG Midwest director and agricultural economist, in an announcement.

“With out higher insurance policies requiring climate-smart farming selections to mitigate the local weather emergency and construct resilience, the price of the already astronomically costly crop insurance coverage programme will continue to grow at a runaway tempo. And farmers will proceed to battle with the consequences of maximum climate,” she added.

The report indicated that crop insurance coverage funds for drought had been US$1,65 billion (R25,39 billion) in 2020, or 4 occasions greater than the US$325,6 million (R5,02 billion) paid out for drought in 1995.

Extra moisture pay-outs amounted to US$2,6 billion (R40 billion) in 2020, thrice greater than the US$685,4 million (R10,54 billion) paid out for this “explanation for loss” in 1995.

Nevertheless, in accordance with the report, the USDA’s Crop Insurance coverage Program didn’t encourage or require farmers to adapt to local weather change or cut back greenhouse fuel emissions.

“Actually, as EWG’s evaluation reveals, the USDA usually pays farmers for a similar kind of loss yr after yr,” in accordance with the report.

The Crop Insurance coverage Program has been closely subsidised by taxpayers for a few years, and whereas among the funds come from cash paid by farmers, when losses exceed premiums, taxpayers largely fund the extra funds.

Taxpayers additionally bear many of the burden of crop insurance coverage premiums, with the typical farmer paying solely 40% of premium and taxpayers the remainder, the report mentioned.

EWG’s Crop Insurance coverage Database tracks US$425 billion (R6,54 trillion) in federal farm subsidies paid to farmers and landowners from commodity, crop insurance coverage, catastrophe and conservation programmes.

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