Book: Climate change and the looming crisis in U.S. food production

In his new book Perilous Bounty, Tom Philpott takes a deep look at perhaps the two most important farming regions in the country, California and the Midwest, and finds that both face what might be called an under-appreciated existential crisis. In California, recently engulfed in wildfires, the …

Ancient Southwest farming cultures faced extreme drought. Now it’s back.

Centuries ago, the Zuni people in the arid Southwest region of the United States developed a sophisticated farming culture, channeling water towards crops and breeding climate resilient seeds, reports Tim Folger, in FERN's latest story, produced with The Weather Channel. But that culture was also likely wiped out by a rare 50-year megadrought that may now be underway again in the West. (No paywall)

Increased risk of spring flooding in central and southeastern states

Major to moderate flooding is likely this spring from the northern Plains southward to the Gulf Coast, with the greatest risk in the upper and middle Mississippi River basin, the Missouri River basin, and the Red River of the North, said NOAA on Thursday.

U.S. corn crop could be smallest since 2012 drought

Based on surveys conducted ahead of USDA reports due for release today, analysts say corn plantings will total 86.7 to 87 million acres after a rainy and cold spring. That would be well below the 92.8 million acres that farmers had planned to seed.

New study confirms man-made climate change drives weather patterns

Researchers analyzed centuries of tree-ring data and found that human-generated greenhouse gases were driving drought conditions around the world as early as 1900, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The study, described by National Geographic as the “first of its kind,” substantially confirms what climate models have shown.

Hotter and drier, with a drop in production, is the future of U.S. agriculture

Climate change will bring higher temperatures and more frequent drought to farmers across the United States, resulting in reduced crop and livestock yields, according to the National Climate Assessment that was released over the weekend. Heat stress could reduce corn yields in the Midwest, the heart of corn and soybean production, by as much as 25 percent below their expected mid-century levels.

Climate change is forcing farmers to migrate from Central America

In Central America's Dry Corridor, a historically drought-prone region that stretches from Mexico to Panama and is home to 10.5 million people, climate change is producing longer and more frequent dry spells and forcing a growing number of farmers to attempt to migrate to the U.S., according to FERN's latest story, published with The Weather Channel. (No paywall)

Farm bill proposal on yields ‘does not seem prudent,’ say analysts

House Agriculture chairman Micheal Conaway says he tried to help every section of the country in his version of the 2018 farm bill, which was ratified by his fellow House Republicans but now is stalled by myriad House-Senate disputes. One of the House provisions, to give some but not all growers the opportunity to potentially increase their subsidy payments, "does not seem prudent," said four university economists.

Drought persists in western Corn Belt, southern Plains

In its monthly Drought Outlook, the National Weather Service says drought will persist in northern Missouri and southeastern Iowa through August, a key month for crop development. Nationwide, about 15 percent of soybean land and 11 percent of corn land is in drought.