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.
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.