With climate change causing not only higher temperatures but also increasingly severe and unpredictable weather events, it’s not an easy time for farmers. Around 90% of crops losses are directly related to unexpected weather. Scientists say we can expect plenty more of that “unexpected” in the future — and a group of Silicon Valley investors are banking on it.
The investment group, which includes venture capitalist Vinod Khosla along with Google Ventures, have put $42 million behind WeatherBill, an insurance startup focused on extreme weather protection for farmers. Total Weather Insurance, the company’s core product, pays clients automatically based on certain weather conditions, giving farmers a tool to alleviate inherent risks to their livelihoods. WeatherBill’s team of software engineers and climatologists collect and analyze weather data, then sell insurance to farmers that protects them from unseasonably extreme and potentially catastrophic weather conditions.
Global agricultural production pulls in about $3 trillion annually, so giving producers protection from some of the growing risks in their game has enormous business potential. More importantly, it may even encourage more people to get into farming — and specifically organic farming.
If the people on the ground growing our food feel that wild weather conditions caused by climate change are dangerous enough to warrant a new insurance model, that should send a message to our Republican friends in Congress that maybe, just maybe, climate change is real and important enough to deal with…