Can agriculture adapt to climate change?

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Uncertain Farmers and ranchers from across the nation are still reeling from the worst drought in 50 years, but more bad news is on the horizon. According to the USDA, climate change could devastate the country’s agricultural industry within the next century.

Published in two reports, one focused on agriculture and the other on forestry, climate change effects and adaptation strategies for both industries are outlined.

“These reports present the challenges that U.S. agriculture and forests will face in this century from global climate change,” William Hohenstein, director of the Climate Change Program Office in USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist, said in a news release issued on Tuesday. “They give us a framework for understanding the implications of climate change, in order to meet our future demands for food, feed, fiber, and fuel.”

Read the report here.

According to USA Today, the accelerating pace and intensity of climate change may be too much for the often-resilient industry to take.

"We're going to end up in a situation where we have a multitude of things happening that are going to negatively impact crop production," said Jerry Hatfield, a laboratory director and plant physiologist with USDA's Agricultural Research Service and lead author of the study. "In fact, we saw this in 2012 with the drought."

The USDA’s report outlines how climate change will likely effect agriculture. During the next quarter-century, producers will adjust as the climate change dictates to ensure maximum profits and productivity, but by the latter half of the century adapting to climate change will be even more costly and difficult.

Crops aren’t the only ones affected. Livestock will also be impacted by raising temperatures, which will hurt productivity and limit production.

Read more from USA Today.

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NW Indiana  |  February, 07, 2013 at 08:54 AM

If we were smart we would call weather "weather" and quit using college level buzzwords to describe every day occurrences. Yes we will adapt to the weather. Now where are my clean coveralls?

David T    
Somerset  |  February, 07, 2013 at 09:21 AM

Global temps are not increasing. Even the BBC meteorological dept., the bastion of "we are all going to fry" comments and beliefs, have caught on to this. Global warming has been based on computer models which have now been shown to be inaccurate. Also, the duration of the temperature plateau is now roughly equal in duration to the increase in temps following the temp dip from the 40's to the 70's. I am sick of hearing how every change in the weather is due to climate change. I remember the doom and gloom merchants saying that Scotland would be a desert by 2050. Idiots.

NC  |  February, 07, 2013 at 11:31 AM

If we would focus on the real problems of our country we might get something done.Instead we are paying attention to Al Gore and our President who are sinking us deeper into debt trying to make a bigger government so they can control us and climate change is just one of the topics. Climate changes have been going on for millions of years and as long as this old world is here it will continue!!!!!!!!

David Avila    
Oakdale  |  February, 09, 2013 at 09:21 AM

I agree with the above comments. The climate changes every day! It is cold in the morning and it changes throughout the day. The earth will balance out. I acknowledge the climate shifts around the earth as I see the evidence, ie. Yosemite Valley in California was formed from a glacier which is not there now. Warming will cause plants to grow better and use less water! Bring on a few degrees! On a side note, if it does warm a bit we will not have to burn so much coal. Go figure.

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