Adapting to climate change and drought risk

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Economists working on climate change spend a lot of time trying to predict how farmers are going to adapt. Without knowing how farmers will react to higher average temperatures or different rainfall patterns, we cannot accurately say what climate change will mean for the future. Farmers have many adaptation options available. They can change the mix of crops they grow, as well as their production practices, and production might be redistributed across regions. The Economic Research Service (ERS) has looked at potential impacts including how some regions will be impacted through commodity price changes resulting from climate-driven crop acreage changes farmers make in other regions.

Today’s climate is an important driver of current conservation program outcomes.  Perhaps in no aspect of climate is this influence greater than in the risk of drought.

When it comes to drought, not all regions are equal. Certainly at some point, every region of the country has experienced severe impacts from drought. Some regions, though, seem to experience drought more often and more severely. Through production decisions, financial decisions, and even USDA program participation decisions, farmers in more drought-prone regions have adapted to some extent, to their higher exposure to drought risk.

In a recent Economic Research Service study, we examined how drought risk influences participation in Federal conservation programs. We recognized that many soil and water conservation practices USDA promotes for environmental benefits also help farmers reduce their vulnerability to drought risk. We found that farmers in more drought-prone regions are indeed more likely than those in other areas to offer eligible land for enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program. Irrigators in more drought-prone regions are more likely to enroll irrigation practices in the Environmental Quality Improvement Program (EQIP).  And crop farms in such regions are more likely to elect EQIP’s conservation tillage practices, which can help to conserve soil moisture. We then demonstrated how these regional differences in participation interact with various aspects of program design.

Looking toward future research, we hope to incorporate predictions of climatologists and hydrologists on which regions of the county will see increased drought risk – as well as other changes in their climate – in the future.

See more here.

Economists working on climate change spend a lot of time trying to predict how farmers are going to adapt.  Without knowing how farmers will react to higher average temperatures or different rainfall patterns, we cannot accurately say what climate change will mean for the future.  Farmers have many adaptation options available.  They can change the mix of crops they grow, as well as their production practices, and production might be redistributed across regions. The Economic Research Service (ERS) has looked at potential impacts including how some regions will be impacted through commodity price changes resulting from climate-driven crop acreage changes farmers make in other regions.

Today’s climate is an important driver of current conservation program outcomes.  Perhaps in no aspect of climate is this influence greater than in the risk of drought.

When it comes to drought, not all regions are equal.  Certainly at some point, every region of the country has experienced severe impacts from drought.  Some regions, though, seem to experience drought more often and more severely.  Through production decisions, financial decisions, and even USDA program participation decisions, farmers in more drought-prone regions have adapted to some extent, to their higher exposure to drought risk.

In a recent Economic Research Service study, we examined how drought risk influences participation in Federal conservation programs.  We recognized that many soil and water conservation practices USDA promotes for environmental benefits also help farmers reduce their vulnerability to drought risk.  We found that farmers in more drought-prone regions are indeed more likely than those in other areas to offer eligible land for enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program.  Irrigators in more drought-prone regions are more likely to enroll irrigation practices in the Environmental Quality Improvement Program (EQIP).  And crop farms in such regions are more likely to elect EQIP’s conservation tillage practices, which can help to conserve soil moisture.  We then demonstrated how these regional differences in participation interact with various aspects of program design.

Looking toward future research, we hope to incorporate predictions of climatologists and hydrologists on which regions of the county will see increased drought risk – as well as other changes in their climate – in the future.

- See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2013/06/11/adapting-to-climate-change-and-drought-risk/#sthash.lItqWKXf.dpuf

Economists working on climate change spend a lot of time trying to predict how farmers are going to adapt.  Without knowing how farmers will react to higher average temperatures or different rainfall patterns, we cannot accurately say what climate change will mean for the future.  Farmers have many adaptation options available.  They can change the mix of crops they grow, as well as their production practices, and production might be redistributed across regions. The Economic Research Service (ERS) has looked at potential impacts including how some regions will be impacted through commodity price changes resulting from climate-driven crop acreage changes farmers make in other regions.

Today’s climate is an important driver of current conservation program outcomes.  Perhaps in no aspect of climate is this influence greater than in the risk of drought.

When it comes to drought, not all regions are equal.  Certainly at some point, every region of the country has experienced severe impacts from drought.  Some regions, though, seem to experience drought more often and more severely.  Through production decisions, financial decisions, and even USDA program participation decisions, farmers in more drought-prone regions have adapted to some extent, to their higher exposure to drought risk.

In a recent Economic Research Service study, we examined how drought risk influences participation in Federal conservation programs.  We recognized that many soil and water conservation practices USDA promotes for environmental benefits also help farmers reduce their vulnerability to drought risk.  We found that farmers in more drought-prone regions are indeed more likely than those in other areas to offer eligible land for enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program.  Irrigators in more drought-prone regions are more likely to enroll irrigation practices in the Environmental Quality Improvement Program (EQIP).  And crop farms in such regions are more likely to elect EQIP’s conservation tillage practices, which can help to conserve soil moisture.  We then demonstrated how these regional differences in participation interact with various aspects of program design.

Looking toward future research, we hope to incorporate predictions of climatologists and hydrologists on which regions of the county will see increased drought risk – as well as other changes in their climate – in the future.

- See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2013/06/11/adapting-to-climate-change-and-drought-risk/#sthash.lItqWKXf.dpuf

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Carl    
Minnesota  |  June, 12, 2013 at 09:26 AM

IF ERS, USDA and all the other highly paid government types are all-in, going long on climate change and piling all their chips on weather forecasting I definitely want to figure out how to short that market. My family has been farming and adapting successfully for many, many generations. All our old diaries and journals show we have had climate and weather the whole time (bet you didn't know that, huh?)! It will take a while for our homestead farm to become a desert, if it ever does. Our local weather girl on TV guesses the weather right about half the time or a little less. That's a coin toss. Maybe you bigtime government fat cats could send us over a few big bags of cash to study how to transition to growing pineapples or grapefruits up here in Minnesota. Oh, we're not foolish enough to plant any of that stuff. We just want the money to "study it", you know, have the experts over at the coffee shop kick the idea around and pass judgement. I figure I could get that done for just a couple million dollars more or less. Well, maybe 0.5 billion $ if that sounds OK. Better send the cash over before the sand dunes blow in and block the door to our coffee shop think tank. Idiots.

michael    
kansas  |  June, 13, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Go Carl! You hit it right. The entire Climate Change "community" is about promoting panic and holding their hands out for sacks of Tax Money for studies. It is the way of modern pop-science to Fear Monger for Cash. And you're right about farmers' history of adapting to climate change all by ourselves. Drought expected? Plant dry-land crops, conserve resources and adapt as needed seasonally. We shift activities and modify plans for livestock types and feeding, etc., etc., etc. Reality dictates our lives and plans, not millions given to academic hucksters who publish Estimates & Projections, based on Models created in their government grant and media fame fevered minds. They are idiots, but Highly Educated Idiots - with excellent Publicists, and lots of gullible media fan-boys.


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