Except for what the final payout is going to be, the federal crop insurance program set a number of records in 2013, according to the latest report the National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) trade group.
The number of policies sold in 2013 increased by 52,000 from 2012 to more than 1.2 million. They covered a record 296 million acres involving 128 different crops with a potential liability of $123 billion compared to $117 billion in 2012 and $114 billion in 2011.
Those 296 million acres represented 90 percent of the insurable cropland in the United States. That was an increase from 86 percent of the eligible acres in 2012 and 84 percent in 2011.
In California, which appears to be locked in the throes of a drought at the start of the coming growing season, 25,000 crop insurance policies were sold in 2013 with those farmers paying $95 million in premiums. The liability on those premiums was about $6 billion or five percent of the national total. California's agricultural production is valued at about $37.5 billion per year.
As of early February, claims on 423,000 policies had been settled for 2013. This is down from the record of 495,000 indemnity payments at the same time in the wake of the 2012 crop year, NCIS pointed out.