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Changing Climate Is Affecting Agriculture in the U.S. – USDA

Climate change presents real threats to U.S. agricultural production, forest resources, and rural economies. These threats have significant implications not just for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners, but for all Americans. Land managers across the country are already feeling the pressures of a changing climate and its effects on weather. As these risks continue and amplify, producers will be faced with the challenges of adapting. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack gave a speech in June, 2013 outlining the growing weather-related risks to farming, foresting and ranching.

Some of these risks are:

  • More severe storms - NOAA reported that 2012 was the second most intense year in our history for extreme weather events.
  • Rising average temperatures - Higher temperatures mean increases in invasive species and costs for weed and pest control.
  • Extremes in precipitation - In the Northeast, heavier, more intense rains threaten to reduce yields. In the Southwest, increased drought poses a challenge to nut, fruit and vegetable producers.
  • More forest fires - The fire season is 60 days longer than it was 30 years ago. A recent Forest Service study predicts that the number of acres susceptible to fires could double by 2050.”

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