The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) estimates 2022 crop losses due to weather and climate change at more than $21.4 billion. The AFBF Market Intel analysis shows in 2022, 18 weather and climate disasters, each with damages exceeding $1 billion struck the United States.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that 2022 surpassed 2021 as the third-costliest disaster year event in history, with an estimated $165 billion in total economic losses. In 2022, Texas suffered the most significant hit, with over $6.4 billion in incurred losses primarily made up of $2.9 billion in damages to cotton.
More than half of the agricultural losses were effectively protected under existing risk management programs with the remainder highlighting the importance of inclusive protections for growers of all crops in all regions of the nation.
AFBF crop loss estimates do not include infrastructure damage, livestock losses, horticulture crop losses or timber losses associated with the selected weather events.
The NAFB contributed to this report.
Listen to Sabrina Halvorson’s program here.
New Estimates Reveal Major 2022 Weather Disasters Caused Over $21 Billion in Crop Losses
By Daniel Munch, Economist
(AFBF/March 3, 2023) — AFBF’s Market Intel team has created a multi-part series highlighting agricultural losses incurred due to weather disasters and the associated disaster assistance programs meant to help mitigate their impacts. Previous articles include: 2020 Disaster Estimations Reveal at Least $3.6 Billion in Uncovered Losses; 2020 Disasters Reveal Gaps in Ad Hoc Aid Legislation; Continuing Resolution Extends Disaster Coverage for Most 2020 and 2021 Losses; Kentucky, Arkansas Tornadoes, Midwest Derecho Renew Calls for Timely Disaster Assistance; 2021 Disaster Estimations Reveal at Least $12.5 Billion in Crop and Forage Losses; and From WHIP+ to ERP: A New Name for 2020-2021 Ad Hoc Disaster Assistance. This Market Intel article updates and summarizes total crop loss estimations across major weather events for 2022.
Weather-associated production risk is an inherent factor in farmers’ and ranchers’ everyday business environment. Through heavy rain, hail, snow, winds and drought, farming families prepare land, plant and harvest knowing their livelihoods are reliant on local weather conditions. In 2022, 18 weather and climate disasters, each with damages exceeding $1 billion struck the U.S. coast-to-coast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2022 surpassed 2021 as the third-costliest disaster year event in history, with an estimated $165 billion in total economic losses behind only 2017’s $346 billion and 2005’s $244 billion. With over 470 lives lost, these disasters will haunt impacted communities for years to come.
Updated crop and rangeland damage estimations for 2022 provide a window into the recent impacts of natural disasters on domestic food production. The assessment puts total crop and rangeland losses from major 2022 disasters at over $21.4 billion, or 7.7% of NOAA’s total economic impact figure. Of that figure, over $11 billion in losses were covered by existing Risk Management Agency programs as of February 2022. Over $10 billion in losses were not insured through RMA, existed outside policies’ coverage levels, or did not qualify under an existing risk management program. Drought and wildfires alone accounted for over $20.4 billion in total crop losses, with the remaining $1.08 billion linked to hurricanes, hail, flooding and severe weather events as displayed in the data table below.
AFBF crop loss estimates do not include infrastructure damage, livestock losses, horticulture crop losses or timber losses associated with the selected weather events. Estimates should be viewed as a minimum baseline as data to estimate these other categories are not readily available. More comprehensive analysis on individual storms may be available from local land-grant universities. For instance, the University of Florida estimated over $1.03 billion in agricultural losses from Hurricane Ian, a far cry from our estimated $40 million linked to more granular survey data; this includes comprehensive livestock, greenhouse and more accurate specialty crop baselines that aren’t included in this analysis.
In 2022, Texas suffered the most significant hit, with over $6.4 billion in incurred losses primarily made up of $2.9 billion in damages to cotton, $1.7 billion in damages to forage and rangeland and nearly $1 billion in wheat damage mainly attributed to widespread exceptional drought conditions but also partly linked to May hailstorms and severe weather in April. Kansas ranked second with over $3.3 billion in incurred losses from drought conditions. Kansas corn losses totaled over $1.2 billion followed by $777 million in losses of other grains including crops such as grain and silage sorghum. Soybeans valued at nearly $700 million also succumbed to drought conditions in Kansas. Nebraska’s losses mirrored those of its southern neighbor, with total losses of over $2 billion, $1.8 billion linked to drought including nearly $1 billion in corn and $400 million in soybeans. Nebraska also experienced losses from heavy derecho winds and severe weather in June, which resulted in almost $200 million in corn losses. Moving north again, South Dakota, in fourth place, was also plagued by drought, with over $1.4 billion in total damages, including $660 million in corn losses and $300 million in forage and rangeland losses. In addition, South Dakota experienced hailstorms in May which damaged $130 million in corn.
Rearranging crop loss data points by crop type allows us to pinpoint regional differences in damages associated with different weather conditions. Figure 2 displays overall crop losses by type across all major weather events in 2022. The other grains category includes crops like oats and sorghum, the other oilseeds category includes canola, mustard, flax and the like and the all other category includes miscellaneous crops like tobacco, sugarcane, sugar beets and mint. Seeing forage and rangeland with the most significant losses ($6.3 billion) is not surprising given the correlation between drought and rangeland. Western states are no strangers to arid conditions and vast landscapes often grazed by livestock herds. Reductions in hay stores and abysmal forage conditions forced many farmers and ranchers to liquidate cows early or pay upward of $400/ton for hay shipped across state lines. Importantly, the geographic footprint of extreme drought has shifted between 2021 and 2022, with states in the Pacific Northwest like Washington and Idaho having relatively better conditions, while states like Texas, Kansas and Nebraska have faced widespread drought in the highest, D4 – exceptional, drought category. This has shifted the categories of crops most impacted compared to last year, including a much higher value of …..
Read the full report: New Estimates Reveal Major 2022 Weather Disasters Caused Over $21 Billion in Crop Losses.
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.