WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) — As the drought continues to ravage the nation’s corn, wheat and soybean fields, crop insurance losses are expected to break records.

With nearly half of the continental United States under severe drought conditions, crop insurance losses are mounting daily, according to a report from the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln released on Thursday.

“It will be a major loss situation,” said Thomas Zacharias, president of the National Crop Insurance Services, a lobbying group representing private crop insurers. “The companies are in the field adjusting claims as we speak.”

An economist with the group roughly estimated that losses could top $20 billion.

And taxpayers will ultimately shoulder most of the cost the nation’s scorched fields.

While there are no official estimates available yet, National Crop Insurance Services Economist Keith Collins said crop losses this year look as bad or worse than other terrible drought years.