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USDA; Climate Change May Increase the Cost of Federal Crop Insurance

The USDA’s Economic Research Service looked into the ways that climate change could affect the cost of the Federal Crop Insurance Program.

Researchers worked with statistical models to predict crop yields from historical weather data. They used weather simulations from climate models to build scenarios showing how yields might respond to climate change.

Economic models then simulated how farmers and markets might respond to changes in weather and yield. The study explored the potential impacts in the year 2080. It compared climate scenarios arising from different projections of greenhouse gas emissions levels to a hypothetical future with a climate similar to that of the past several decades.

Under that scenario with moderate emissions reductions, in which farmers adapt to changes in climate with adjustments to what they plant, where they plant it, and how they manage it, the cost of today’s Federal Crop Insurance Program would average about 3.5 percent higher than under a future with a climate similar to that of the recent past.

Under the scenario in which emissions trends continue, the cost of the FCIP would increase by an average of 22 percent.