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The Wide Ranging Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture By City Tech Blogger Joshurai Ginyard

Climate change has wreaked havoc everywhere it has occurred. One area where climate change has had an impact on agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and raising livestock. Agriculture is a vital industry in the United States that is heavily reliant on the weather. Temperature and carbon dioxide increases, on the other hand, can boost crop yields in some places. Climate change effects must be considered alongside other evolving factors affecting agricultural production, such as changes in farming practices and technology.

Crops are unquestionably an important aspect of agriculture. Crops grown in the United States are critical to the country’s and the world’s food supply. Temperature, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, and the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, on the other hand, could all have a significant impact on crop output. Crop output may suffer as carbon dioxide levels rise. A real-world example would be that “Increased carbon dioxide levels have been linked to lower protein and nitrogen content in alfalfa and soybean plants, resulting in a loss of quality.” Rising CO2 levels can boost plant growth while lowering the nutritional value of most food crops. As atmospheric CO2 levels rise, the concentrations of protein and essential minerals in most plant species may decrease. Crops can be harmed by an increase in extreme temperatures and precipitation. Another real-life example would have been high nighttime temperatures affecting corn outputs across the United States Corn Belt in 2010 and 2012, and premature budding due to a warm winter cost Michigan cherry $220 million losses. [1] Warmer temperatures, wetter climates, and higher carbon dioxide levels benefit weeds, pests, and fungi as well. Extreme weather, such as flooding and drought, would have to be considered as well. Dealing with such weather can be difficult in areas where rising summer temperatures cause soil to dry out.

Livestock is another important aspect of agriculture. Livestock produces or becomes the food that everyone on the planet consumes daily. In fact, Americans consume more than 36 million metric tons of meat and poultry each year. Because climate change causes temperatures to rise, hotter heat waves are more likely. Heat waves can endanger livestock. In this case, agricultural producers suffered high-temperature-related losses totaling more than $1 billion (about $3 per person in the US).[1] This demonstrates how heat stress affects animals both directly and indirectly. It can even increase disease susceptibility, reduce fertility, and reduce milk production over time. Droughts are more severe because livestock are affected. Droughts can jeopardize pasture and feed supplies by reducing the amount of high-quality forage available to grazing livestock. Because warmer winters and earlier springs allow some parasites and pathogens to survive more easily, climate change may increase the prevalence of livestock parasites and diseases. Moisture-dependent pathogens may thrive even with increased rainfall. Rising carbon dioxide levels are a recurring factor because, while it can increase the productivity of pastures and plants, which are used as food for livestock, it can also reduce the quality. Because feed quality is declining, livestock would have to eat more to receive.

Farmers in agriculture are particularly vulnerable to climate change. The reason for this is that they have worked harder to ensure that their farming space is more sustainable. Climate change is likely to expand the ranges and distributions of weeds and pests, which can cause new problems for farmers’ crops that were previously unaffected by these species. Many weeds, pests, and fungi thrive in warmer temperatures, wetter climates, and higher CO2 levels. Farmers in the United States, for example, have spent more than $11 billion per year fighting weeds, which compete with crops for light, water, and nutrients. [1] Pesticides, while beneficial to crops, can endanger human health if used excessively.

Finally, climate change has had a wide-ranging impact on agriculture. It is wreaking havoc on livestock and crops. Crops are being damaged or are unable to grow. To produce more products, livestock must consume more food. Farmers have spent more money to keep crops more sustainable as carbon dioxide levels have increased. Farmers’ efforts may cause additional problems for human health. There must be a way to reduce climate change so that farmers can create a more secure environment.

 

 

References:

1 US EPA. Climate Impacts on Agriculture and Food Supply | Climate Change Impacts | US EPA. (n.d.). Retrieved November 26, 2022, from https://climatechange.chicago.gov/climate-impacts/climate-impacts-agriculture-and-food-supply

image: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/climate-change-is-hitting-farmers-hard/

 

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