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.
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)
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.
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.
Roughly 16 months ago, at their first hearing for the 2018 farm bill, Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts and Sen. Debbie Stabenow agreed to write a bipartisan bill that would be enacted on time, a seemingly simple goal that has eluded Congress repeatedly. With a committee vote set for Wednesday on their 1,006-page bill, the two committee leaders say they are on the verge of a major bipartisan victory.
Widespread rainfall in northwestern Kansas eased arid conditions in the No. 1 winter wheat state as this year’s crop nears maturity, said the weekly Drought Monitor. Still, some 69 percent of Kansas remains in drought.
In the agricultural equivalent of coals to Newcastle, the No. 3 soybean grower in the world, Argentina, is buying soybeans from one of its major competitors, the United States, because of drought damage to its own crop.
Searing drought in the central and southern Plains will result in the smallest winter wheat crop since 2002 and the second smallest in 47 years, said the USDA in its first estimate of the summer harvest.
After a record-setting fire season in 2017, this year “is showing all signs of another historic year,” said interim Forest Service chief Vicki Christiansen on Thursday. “I will say above normal is our new normal.”