Ag Weather Forum

Climate Change Note in CoBank Outlook

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , Ag Meteorologist Emeritus
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Ag lenders are giving more attention to how climate change is an influence in extreme weather events such as wildfires and flooding. (DTN graphic)

It's the time of year for predictions and speculations about how 2022 will unfold. Premier agricultural lender CoBank is part of that scene. CoBank's 2022 outlook "The Year Ahead: Forces That Will Shape the U.S. Rural Economy" was recently posted on the bank's website. The report features the usual items one expects from a big lender: global and U.S. economy issues; government concern; grain, livestock and dairy issues; and price outlooks.

However, CoBank President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Halverson also noted the influence of climate change concerns on economic policy in an introductory overview. His comments begin with this bullet point: "Climate policy will continue to drive private sector economic activity."

Here is the text of that comment:

"Another fairly certain bet is that the private sector in advanced economies, including here in the U.S., will continue to align around the policy goal of reducing global carbon emissions and addressing climate change.

"Reasonable people can disagree as to the wisdom of this current policy emphasis on addressing climate change. What is beyond doubt is that climate concerns are reshaping global capital markets and the behavior of private businesses across sectors and geography, and that they will continue to do so in the years ahead.

"There is a convergence occurring right now along multiple vectors, including government policy and regulation, institutional investment practices and priorities, consumer preferences and behavior, and technological change. This convergence is inexorably powerful and will influence how companies and capital providers make business decisions and engage with each other going forward.

"CoBank is watching this trend carefully so we can be positioned to assist our customers in successfully navigating it, including those CoBank customers that operate in carbon-intensive businesses."

Halverson's comment does not illustrate a full-speed-ahead push for CoBank to make climate change a top priority in the upcoming year; but it does indicate that events, impact and public response associated with climate change are getting attention in the farm financial arena. Meanwhile, the global temperature trend continues to rise. The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) notes that January through November 2021 global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average, making it the sixth-warmest year to date on record. December temperatures will likely continue that trend when reports are issued during the second week of January.

Halverson's overview statement, and the full CoBank outlook report, are available at the bank website:…

Bryce Anderson can be reached at

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