TJ35.3 Climate Effects on Agriculture [INVITED]

Wednesday, 9 January 2013: 11:30 AM
Ballroom C (Austin Convention Center)
Eugene S. Takle, Iowa State University, Ames, IA; and J. L. Hatfield

The agriculture chapter of the national climate assessment provides an overview of impacts of climate change on both animal and crop agriculture, which together produce nearly $300 billion annually in commodities. The increased frequency of weather extremes already is challenging agricultural systems. However, climate changes in some locations are favorable and have allowed producers to explore adaptation strategies that likely will become more urgent with time. Beyond the next 25 years the balance of impacts will become more negative. Both crops and animals are impacted when weather extremes pass critical thresholds or persist for extended periods. In addition to direct effects from changing climate, both crops and livestock experience indirect impacts through increasing pressures from pests and pathogens that will benefit from a changing climate. Sustaining water and soil resources under changing climate will challenge agriculture in both moist and dry climates. Although agriculture has a long history of successful adaptation to climate variability, the accelerating pace of climate change and the intensity of projected climate change represent new and unprecedented challenges to the sustainability of U.S. agriculture. Increased research and education on sustainable natural resource management strategies will be needed to guide transformative adaptive strategies. Beyond mid-century more integrated crop-livestock farming will be needed to improve profitability and sustainability and enhance ecological resilience. The US GCRP envisions a new sustained approach to future climate assessments. This process will continuously merge new research on current and future challenges for agricultural adaptation into an ongoing climate assessment.
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