Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at 12:31PM
Drew Wolfe

As Climate Changes, Taxpayers Will Shoulder Larger U.S. Payouts To Farmers

"Robert Henry is driving along the top of a Mississippi River levee, giving me a tour of land where he'd love to be planting soybeans right now. We're just east of New Madrid, Mo."

"'Smells kind of raunchy, doesn't it?' he says."

"From the window of Henry's truck, I see what looks like a swamp, with trees standing in water. Then we make a turn, and suddenly, as far as I can see, there's water. It covers a wide flood plain between the main river channel and the levee. This is where Henry normally grows his crops."

"Thousands and thousands of acres," Henry says. "Some of the best land in the world."

"Henry won't grow anything here this year. He even has a tractor and harvesting equipment stranded on an island out in the middle of the river."

"But here's the good news: He'll get a check anyway — a payout from his crop insurance. It won't be as much money as he'd have gotten from a soybean crop, but it'll help him get by, 'which is better than going under, you know?' he says."

"Most farmers who grow big commodity crops like corn, soybeans and wheat buy crop insurance. It's a good deal for them; the federal government actually covers about 60 percent of the cost of the premiums."

"In fact, the federal government spends, on average, about $8 billion a year subsidizing crop insurance for farmers.

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