Absolutely. The years 2011 and 2012 were among the most costly ever for U.S. agriculture due to extreme weather.
Regardless of one’s opinion of the climate change issue, there is no denying that farmers are dealing with unusual weather events. At a minimum, climate change is projected to introduce a whole new level of uncertainty into production agriculture, bringing periods of more intense heat or cold, abnormally high or low moisture and altered weather patterns.
Crop insurance will play a critical role in helping America’s farmers face this uncertainty by enabling them to better deal with climate change and to rebound from its extremes. A financially sound, affordable and universally available crop insurance program helps ensure that as global income, population and urbanization expand, America’s farmers have the resources and capacity to meet the increase in both domestic and foreign demands of food, feed, fuel and fiber.
William Hohenstein, director of USDA’s Climate Change Program Office, noted, “…agriculture has been and will continue to be significantly affected by changes in climate conditions.” Hohenstein pointed out that USDA released a climate change effects and adaptation report in 2013. “There’s a lot of potential for the crop insurance program to help make farmers more resilient to [climate] change by addressing risk,” he said.