Morning Read: Ag experts say region’s farms must prep for climate change

While politicians dither over climate change, a growing number of experts in fields like engineering, public planning, and agriculture are preparing for what they view as an inevitably changed planet.

That view was shared again on Friday by an expert from Monsanto, who spoke at a USDA conference in Washington, according to the Watertown Daily Times.

[T]he change isn’t that far away. Surface warming in the Northern Hemisphere has accelerated since the late 1960s, equivalent to moving Earth a million miles closer to the sun, said David Gustafson, senior fellow for water quality and agricultural sustainability with the Monsanto Co.  Prospects for lessening the global warming effect are increasingly dim, Mr. Gustafson said. “Agriculture will, in fact, be forced to deal,” he said.

Change could affect the North Country’s dairy interesting in particular, writes the Times’ Mark Heller.

In New York, the trend toward warmer conditions could cost the state part of its advantage in the dairy industry: cool weather. Cows begin to experience heat stress when temperatures reach the mid-70s, and production suffers sharply as readings reach into the 80s and 90s.

“Dairy farmers could adapt to this by renovating barns with better cooling systems, but these costs would have to be weighed against potential risks and benefits,” wrote David W. Wolfe, a professor at Cornell University, Ithaca, in a paper on climate change and Northeast agriculture.

Read the full article here.

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61 Comments on “Morning Read: Ag experts say region’s farms must prep for climate change”

  1. Paul says:

    Walker, thanks for the info, the agricultural activity itself has many negative effects on many different species. I am in no way saying that there are no negative impacts, I hope I have not made that point? It looks like something like Roundup (there are other new alternatives as well) appears to be the lesser of evils in many respects. As new studies are done and new things are learned, then those things should help us make even better products and develop better ways of doing agriculture. That is really the best we can hope for.

    So TTmike doesn’t get too mad I will add that many of these companies are working to find new varieties of crops that will be more adapted to the changing climates we are dealing with.

  2. Walker says:

    One last point– “Isn’t that why we have things like the EPA study that Peter pointed to?”

    If the Silent Spring scenario has a lesson, it is that it’s not likely that the EPA will be the first to let us know that Roundup (or anything else) is unsafe. It’s far more likely to come from an unofficial source, like, say, Greenpeace. EPA is far too worried about being hammered by industry stooges in Congress to provide early warning of industrial pollution. EPA will sign on only after the evidence is overwhelming.

  3. Walker says:

    For the record, Mike, Monsanto was introduced in the second comment on this thread.

    And the lead quote in the blog post was from Monsanto:

    David Gustafson, senior fellow for water quality and agricultural sustainability with the Monsanto Co. Prospects for lessening the global warming effect are increasingly dim, Mr. Gustafson said. “Agriculture will, in fact, be forced to deal,” he said.

    You could hear the company rubbing it’s hands together– you just know that they see themselves as making a bundle helping agriculture deal with climate change. And who knows, maybe they’ll pull our bacon out of the fire, so to speak, while making a bundle. Stranger things have happened.

    But “warming” is only fueling the heat-engine of climate change– that’s what will drive much more difficult weather for farmers– storms, flooding, high winds, etc. Nothing will help with a lot of those situations. Just ask the flooded-out farmers of the Champlain Valley.

  4. Paul says:

    Walker, in general from other comments you seem to support the type of government oversight that you seem to mistrust in some other cases. But like I said I too tend to be skeptical as a rule. That skepticism is very strong when it come to any “studies” led by a groups with a very clear agenda like Greenpeace, or on the other end of the spectrum some kind of industry support groups (for example the groups around here trying to promote hydro-fracking for NG). Everyone has an agenda but some are much less trustworthy tan others.

  5. Paul says:

    Walker, early on in the discussion you mentioned Carson’s Silent Spring. Here is what one of the co-founders of Greenpeace said about it after he left the organization when he said they are all about politics and they ignore science:

    “Opposition to the use of chemicals such as chlorine is part of a broader hostility to the use of industrial chemicals. Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, “Silent Spring,” had a significant impact on many pioneers of the green movement. The book raised concerns, many rooted in science, about the risks and negative environmental impact associated with the overuse of chemicals. But the initial healthy skepticism hardened into a mindset that treats virtually all industrial use of chemicals with suspicion.

    Sadly, Greenpeace has evolved into an organization of extremism and politically motivated agendas. Its antichlorination campaign failed, only to be followed by a campaign against polyvinyl chloride.

    Skepticism is a good thing.

  6. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Yes, skepticism is a good thing.

    It seems to me that the consistent Conservative position would be that we should be careful of what kinds of chemicals we introduce into our bodies and to our environment. We are smart enough to invent and mass produce chemicals, plastics, radioactive isotopes but we aren’t smart enough to predict all of the consequences that may come from using those things. Perhaps the benefits show up quickly but often the unforeseen problems (and sometimes those problems have been known but kept secret in order to boost corporate profits at the expense of people’s health) aren’t discovered until sometimes irreparable damage had been done.

  7. Walker says:

    Paul, you distrust “groups with a very clear agenda.” There are no clearer agendas out there than the agenda of a business with a product to sell. Skepticism all around is warranted!

  8. JDM says:

    tootightmike “Mass starvation isn’t something from futuristic science fiction…it’s something from present day Africa.”

    This is actually very relevant. Present-day Africa’s starvation is very man-made. It’s caused by mostly by bad political leaders, and nothing to do with man-made global warming (unless you global warming theorists want to back date your claims by a few dozen decades).

    Very “easy” to solve. But, it is not being solved.

    So, instead of focusing on the inability to solve a few relatively minor political problems, man-made global warming theorists switch the argument to something millions-of-magnitudes bigger. The climate.

    Since we can’t solve little political issues, let’s pretend we change the climate. Sorry, Charlie. Fix the Sudan, then I will believe you can change the climate.

  9. JDM says:

    And another country comes to mind – Haiti.

    Tell your Ph.D.’s who write those “climate change” articles in those science journals, that all the kings horses and all the kings men, and gazillions of donated dollars haven’t put Haiti back together, again.

    Come on. Haiti is a puny country. What’s the deal? Fix it!

    Oh. That’s right. Haiti is measurable. We don’t do “measurable”things.

    We do “theoretical” things too big to be measured.

  10. Walker says:

    See Mike? We’re much better off talking Roundup. Doesn’t draw in the fringe elements.

  11. Two Cents says:

    Don’t get me started on Flouride!

Comments are closed.