In the first blog in our series on climate change and agriculture, we’re going to start our discussion on these issues by looking at North America, and how this continent will be affected. North America produces huge amounts of corn, soy, and fruit, and if temperatures continue to rise, and weather becomes more unpredictable, it could have a dangerous effect on the future of farming in The United States, Mexico, and Canada.
Admittedly, some of these effects could be positive for some farmers. Crops that are limited by the growing season, like fruit producers in the Great Lakes region and eastern Canada, will benefit from warmer temperatures as it will give them more time during the year to grow and harvest crops. The EPA does note that the continent as a whole will benefit from climate change through the next century, but some regions or crops will suffer greatly.
Some crops are already reaching their maximum production, like grape farmers in California, would suffer great losses as a result of climate change. Many crops would start being produced farther north as a result of the temperature increase, and this would make it more difficult for farmers to keep up with their old production yields. The EPA also states that the U.S. plains and the Canadian prairies are expected to be some of the hardest hit regions by climate change.
While the United States and Canada are both developed nations with the ability to adapt and modify farming practices to fit with the new climate changes, many individual farmers could lose their jobs when crops are no longer profitable in their region, or when a tornado, flood, or drought destroys what crops they have grown. And in Mexico, where many farming families are poor, the ability to adapt to the climate quickly will not be there. The World Bank notes that the Northern part of the country is already dealing with water scarcity issues, so any extreme weather could have adverse effects there, while the Southern part of the country is dealing with tropical storms which can destroy crops and harm livestock. Working towards reducing the effects of climate change is particularly important in Mexico where food crops are directly related to food security and poverty rates within the nation.
While climate change might seem unrelated to your daily lives, when food prices start to rise and farming families are forced to move or are put out of work, it will be too late. We have to act now to prevent as much damage as possible. By learning more about how you can reverse the effects of climate, you can do your part to create a more sustainable earth. Check out the Nature Conservatory to find easy things you can do to help prevent climate change.