National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) has reported that more than $16 billion has been distributed to farmers suffering crop losses in the last year.

The high indemnity figure is largely due to an ongoing drought across the United States, particularly in the Corn Belt.

NCIS said farmers invested more than $4.1 billion in 2012 to purchase 1.2 million crop insurance polices protecting 128 different crops on 281 million acres of land.

Illinois had the highest loss ratio at 3.81; nationally, the loss ration is 1.44.

Crop insurance is a public-private partnership in which farmers and the federal government share the cost of policy premiums.

The program is the most important component of the farm safety net for most growers, and it is NAWG’s top priority in the ongoing farm bill discussions.