Texas farmers face mounting expenses as droughts worsen

  • by:
  • Source: The Texas Tribune
  • 06/12/2024

The financial costs of drought in Texas have risen rapidly over recent decades, according to a new analysis of federal crop insurance data.

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group, a longtime critic of the federal crop insurance program based in Washington, analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and showed that drought accounts for more crop insurance payouts than any other weather phenomenon and that Texas draws more crop insurance payouts than any other state.

Payouts due to drought in Texas rose from an average $251 million per year in the 2000s to $516 million per year in the 2010s and $1.1 billion per year in the first four years of the 2020s, the data showed, rising at more than twice the rate of inflation.

Those numbers represent farmers’ lost harvests as well as the publicly-funded premium subsidies that keep them in business through disasters. As temperatures rise, so will costs.

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