Climate change is a big issue that affects all aspects of human and wildlife. Although essential, the impact of climate change on agriculture is not spoken of a lot. In schools it is more about the natural disasters and raising temperatures and not how it will affect an integral part of food production, agriculture. There are many areas of agriculture but some of the major ones are crops, livestock, and fisheries. These three areas are one of the most essential ones when it comes to food production in the United States.
The first aspect is crops. Crops like wheat, corn, and rice are an important and essential part of many people’s diets. Also, it’s estimated that the United States produces around 25% of all grains in the global market. This shows how important these types of crops are not just for the United States, but also for the whole world. Climate change leads to global warming, increasing the earth’s temperature over time. Crops are very sensitive to temperature changes; any unexpected changes can cause whole fields of crops to go to waste and create massive losses for farmers and a decrease in supply. Some crops don’t mind the increase in temperature, which is a good sign, but the increase in temperature causes the land to dry, leaving little to no water to crops, which as a result kills them. From another perspective, at first the increase in carbon dioxide is good for crops, but studies have shown that this increase reduces the amount of nutrients that crops need to grow. In other words, the increase in carbon dioxide and the lack of nutrients cancel each other out, leading to crops that don’t go grow. Another impact of climate change on crops is the increase in competition for crops. Weeds thrive in warmer environments with the increase in temperatures, the amount of weed present also increases, which causes a problem for farmers. If weeds are not taken care of, they will fight with the crops for nutrients, sunlight, and water.
The second area in agriculture which climate change affects is the livestock area. Livestock is an important part of the food supply in the United States. The United States is one of the top consumers of meat in the world. Climate change leads to an increase in droughts, which can cause pasture to decrease. Without enough food to feed livestock, farmers are put in a difficult situation. The increase in temperature due to global warming can cause heat stress on livestock, making them more vulnerable to diseases and dehydration. This same concerns affect fisheries as well, the abnormal changes in water temperature can lead to displacement of fish, because many species prefer colder water. This can lead to the invasion of new areas, causing fish to fight for resources and might result in the endangerment of native species. Additionally, just like with livestock, higher water temperatures lead to a higher risk of developing disease outbreaks among the fish.
The changes in these areas could lead to higher prices for basic food supplies like rice and meat, which could gravely impact low-income families. Overall, changes will happen, even if there are drastic changes in the coming years or today, the repercussions of climate change are set in motion. Still, fighting for a change is better than nothing and hopefully it will decrease the damage that is to come.
City of Chicago. (n.d.). Climate Impacts on Agriculture and Food Supply. Climate Impacts on Agriculture and Food Supply | Climate Change Impacts | US EPA. Retrieved April 16, 2022, from https://climatechange.chicago.gov/climate-impacts/climate-impacts-agriculture-and-food-supply