How is recent severe weather impacting agriculture?
Severe weather is an all too familiar subject and concern for farmers and ranchers. And what a year 2017 has been. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has been tracking data on $1 billion+ weather events since 1980 that include droughts, floods, freezes, severe storms, tropical cyclones, wildfires and winter storms. Data recorded includes the location, timing, cost and number of deaths connected to each event. Included in these costs are both structural and single-year crop losses. NOAA is reporting a major increase in the occurrence of severe storms since 2005. And as you may have already guessed, 2017 may likely be at the top for worst year the NOAA has seen once data is finalized.
Patterns have shown that those states located along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic see most damages due from both hurricanes and tropical depressions while the Western and northern states are more apt to endure wildfires, freezes and droughts. Hurricanes and tropical depressions are among the most costly weather events. Texas has the highest rate of high-cost weather events.
Due to the increased proficiency of agricultural production in the 2000s (i.e. higher per-acre and per-animal revenues), the value at risk for weather disasters increased too. Offsetting these high-cost events largely is crop insurance and government emergency payments. These payments have been known to show an agricultural net cash increase in a state that was hit with a severe storm once these government disaster payments and crop insurance payouts are factored in.
What does the future hold for 2018? Only time will tell, but we can look forward to advancements in weather forecasting. These latest advancements will allow new forecast models and more powerful supercomputers to assimilate further data and produce more frequent forecasts at finer resolutions. In turn, we should be learning about these developing storms with more advanced timing & a better understanding of what the outcome will be like.
I’m sure we can all agree, especially us farmers & ranchers, that our New Year’s wishes include good weather, timely & beneficial rains and of course, a profitable year. And although 2017 was a year of upset for many of us enduring the severe weather, we can be a little more at ease with risk management tools available to lessen the financial burdens for future events such as these.
Wishing you & yours a prosperous, healthy & peaceful 2018 from Agrow Credit Corporation!
“Severe Weather & Agriculture.” Farmer Mac – The Feed, Nov. 2017, www.farmermac.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Feed-Winter-2017-Hi-Res.pdf
Webster, Eric. “Weather forecasting faces a new world of challenges ahead.” The Washington Post, 18 Dec. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/12/18/weather-forecasting-faces-a-new-world-of-challenges-ahead/?utm_term=.ea1f4ff7defd
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