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  • Monday, February 11, 2013


    Report: Climate change could devastate agriculture; A comprehensive USDA study concludes rising temperatures could cost farmers millions as they battle new pests, faster weed growth and get smaller yields as climate change continues.

    Christopehr Doering, February 5, 2013 (USA Today)

    “Climate change could have a drastic and harmful effect on U.S. agriculture, forcing farmers and ranchers to alter where they grow crops and costing them millions of dollars in additional costs to tackle weeds, pests and diseases that threaten their operations…[According to Climate Change and Agriculture in the United States the Agriculture Department] although] U.S. crops and livestock have been able to adapt to changes in their surroundings for close to 150 years, the accelerating pace and intensity of global warming during the next few decades may soon be too much for the once-resilient sector to overcome…

    “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said 2012 was the hottest year ever in the USA since record-keeping began in 1895, surpassing the previous high by a full degree Fahrenheit. The country was battered by the worst drought in more than 50 years, and crops withered away in bone-dry fields across the Midwest.”

    “In the report, researchers said U.S. cropland agriculture will be fairly resistant to climate change during the next quarter-century…Farmers will be able to minimize the impact of global warming on their crops by changing the timing of farming practices and utilizing specialized crop varieties more resilient to drought, disease and heat, among other practices…[but by] the middle of the century and beyond, adaptation becomes more difficult and costly as plants and animals that have adapted to warming climate conditions will have to do so even more — making the productivity of crops and livestock increasingly more unpredictable…

    “Temperature increases and more extreme swings in precipitation could lead to a drop in yield for major U.S. crops and reduce the profitability of many agriculture operations…[because] higher temperatures cause crops to mature more quickly, reducing the growing season and yields as a result. Faster growth could reduce grain, forage, fiber and fruit production if the plants can't get the proper level of nutrients or water… Among the biggest threat to crops from rising temperatures and accelerated levels of carbon dioxide is an increase in the cost for the agricultural industry to control weeds, a challenge that tops more than $11 billion annually…”


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