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Climate Change To Hurt Crops And Livestock

The USDA warns of hard times ahead for the nation's farmers.

Climate change is expected to have an overall negative impact upon crop and livestock over the next 25 years.

Photo: Courtesy of g8dnes (Flickr)

The pork industry was especially hard-hit during 2012. Prices for the meat are projected to rise markedly in the coming months.

Heating Up

In a recent report on the effects of climate change on American agriculture, the USDA has concluded the going will generally be getting tougher for farmers and ranchers.

According to the 146-page document, which was released to the public on Feb. 5, rising temperatures over the next 40 years are expected to negatively impact both livestock and crops alike.

On the animal side of the equation, this will take the form of reduced fertility and higher susceptibility to disease. Plants, meanwhile, will face the challenges of stronger weeds, more aggressive insects and significantly altered growing conditions.

Adaptation

The USDA’s gloomy forecast comes as U.S. farmers are still reeling from last year’s drought — the worst in a quarter-century.

While the author’s of the report are hopeful modifications to cultivation and husbandry practices — relocating operations, planting heartier crops, increasing irrigation, etc. –  will enable farmers to adjust, it’s clear that global warming is going to make food production a lot harder than it used to be.

This means food prices may very well climb along with the mercury.

Read more:

  • Climate change could devastate agriculture (USA Today)
  • Climate Change and Agriculture in the United States (USDA)
  • Drought will weigh on 2013 commodity prices (MSN Money)
Caroline Hoven

Caroline Hoven is studying journalism at Indiana University. She has a passion for learning how to cook.

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