Corn Belt Shifts North With Climate as Kansas Crop Dies
As Samantha Farb, a 14-year-old from Lecompton, KS filed a lawsuit yesterday in the District Court of Shawnee County on the issue of whether the State of Kansas has an obligation to protect the atmosphere under the Public Trust Doctrine, we are reminded of the impacts of climate change to Kansas agriculture.
Alan Bjerga reports from Business Week this week:
Joe Waldman is saying goodbye to corn after yet another hot and dry summer convinced the Kansas farmer that rainfall won’t be there when he needs it anymore.
“I finally just said uncle,” said Waldman, 52, surveying his stunted crop about 100 miles north of Dodge City. Instead, he will expand sorghum, which requires less rain, let some fields remain fallow and restrict corn to irrigated fields.
While farmers nationwide planted the most corn this year since 1937, growers in Kansas sowed the fewest acres in three years, instead turning to less-thirsty crops such as wheat, sorghum and even triticale, a wheat-rye mix popular in Poland. Meanwhile, corn acreage in Manitoba, a Canadian province about 700 miles north of Kansas, has nearly doubled over the past decade due to weather changes and higher prices.
Shifts such as these reflect a view among food producers that this summer’s drought in the U.S. -- the worst in half a century -- isn’t a random disaster. It’s a glimpse of a future altered by climate change that will affect worldwide production.
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*image from here