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)
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.
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.
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.
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.