As climate change is getting more severe it affects all parts of society across the globe. One industry that is the most impacted is the agricultural industry and the farmers who run them. If farmers and the general population do not start doing their part to help stop climate change it will negatively impact the farmers’ welfare as well as the global food supply which affects everybody. The agricultural industry itself is also responsible for greenhouse gases. A study conducted by the EPA in 2018 revealed that U.S. agriculture emitted an estimated 698 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide and is responsible for 10% of the country’s total carbon emissions.
Climate change can lead to a warmer climate in some regions and a cooler climate in others, as well as more extreme weather. One of the biggest problems is a lack of fresh water and rain. Plants and animals all require water to live and farmers predominantly rely on rainwater to properly irrigate their crops. If there are droughts and dry climates then farmers would have to import their own water which is very costly and time-consuming. Drought can also lead to wildfires which would not only destroy crops, but infrastructure as well. On the other hand, some areas will see an increase in tropical storms and floods which can ruin crops as well as wash away all the nutrients in the soil. The changing climate can also result in an increase of pests which eat the plants causing farmers to have to spray them with toxic pesticides. These pesticides harm the soil by depleting it of nutrients and potentially making the produce harmful. While all plants rely on carbon dioxide to grow, an excess of CO2 in the atmosphere can result in produce losing their nutrient value as well as the soil losing important proteins.
While plants are an important part of farming, raising animals is also an extremely important part to farming. A study found that Americans consume over 36 million metric tons of red meat and poultry every year. Too much heat can be detrimental to animals’ health; it can cause dehydration and stress which can affect its reproductive health and product yields. Climate change can also cause an increase in parasites which can cause the animals to get sick and therefore require medicine. The medicine in turn can affect the quality of the animals’ yield and cause a potential risk to humans.
The agricultural industry is also responsible for a small portion of greenhouse gases emitted by fuel used for farm equipment such as tractors and combines which release emissions into the atmosphere. In addition, cows produce a large quantity of methane that gets released into the atmosphere as well as producing an abundance of waste.
Farmers will need to learn how to adapt to climate change by developing and implementing new strategies because crops that were once able to thrive in one location may no longer be sustainable in that location. Climate change can also affect the growing seasons when crops are planted and harvested. This can be very costly for farmers, affecting their yields and lessens their profit. Farmable land will also be higher in demand and cost more as more land becomes unsuitable for farming.
Agriculture is an important part of society and must be protected for everyone’s well-being. If climate change is not rectified soon the damage seen to the agricultural industry will start being seen throughout the world. Prices on produce and meats will increase and could become scarce. This will make it harder for poorer people to have access to healthy foods or even food in general. It is imperative we take climate change seriously because agriculture relies mainly on the climate to succeed.