Federal crop insurance provides a financial safety net for farmers against insured perils such as drought, heat, and freeze. In 2016 over $100 billion dollars of crops were insured through the Federal crop insurance program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency. In this white paper, we analyze publicly-available Federal crop insurance data to understand how weather and climate-related perils, or causes of loss (COL), change over time and spatial areas. We find that over 75% of all weather/climate-related indemnities (i.e., crop losses) from 2001 to 2016 are due to three COL: drought, excess moisture, and hail. However, the extent to which these top COL and others impact indemnities is highly dependent on the time period, temporal scale, and spatial scale of analysis. Moreover, we identify what COL are region- or season-specific, and visualize COL trends over time. Finally, we offer a road map of research applications to quantify such trends in indemnities, as well as outreach and extension efforts that include an online data portal.
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