El Niño/La Niña
When asked if those weather patterns are real and affect agriculture, very few farmers either strongly agree or disagree, and most are in between. However, the researchers say, “Like with earlier questions, the percentage of producers who have no opinion on this topic is fairly large, ranging from 17 percent in Texas to 27 percent in Wisconsin. However, on balance, there is a strong tendency toward agreement with this statement. Roughly 50 percent of producers in all states express agreement that El Niño/La Niña cycles exist and affect agricultural production where they farm.”
Impact on yields
For the most part, producers expect little impact, except for those who are convinced the climate is changing, according to the researchers. They add, “It should be noted, however, that only a small percentage of producers expects climate change to either increase or decrease their expected yields by more than 10 percent in the next 25 years. Of the surveyed producers who strongly agreed/agreed that climate change is scientifically proven, 32 percent (14 percent) expected average yields to decrease (increase), whereas over half did not expect any change in yields of over 5 percent as a result of climate change.”
Options for risk management
If yield decline is expected from climate change, how would you manage your yield and revenue risk? 30 percent of the respondents had no opinion about crop diversification, but 44 percent to 51 percent think more diversification is likely or very likely. 25 percent had no opinion on the use of irrigation. But more than 50 percent of Mississippi farmers expect to see more irrigation, while less than 25 percent of farmers in other states expect more irrigation. Regarding crop insurance, 42 percent to 56 percent of producers believe crop insurance is a likely or very likely response to extreme weather.
Planning for the future
For those farmers who agree that climate change is inevitable, what plans are they making for the future? The researchers report, “roughly half indicated that farmers are likely/very likely to diversify crops more (51 percent), buy more crop insurance (55 percent), modify lease/rental arrangements (51 percent), exit farming (50 percent) in response to extreme weather in their location and approximately one-third (32 percent) responded that farmers are likely/very likely to irrigate more.”
Who thinks what?
- Producers who attended at least some college tend to agree that El Niño/La Niña affects local agricultural production.
- Older producers with presumably more farming experience are more likely to believe that humans are responsible for climate change but less likely to agree that El Niño/La Niña affects local agricultural production.
- Producers with over $1 million in farm assets are likely to disagree that climate change has been scientifically proven.
Farmers are skeptical about the existence of climate change because it is quite slow, and trends are interrupted by other weather events. Those who believe in climate change believe that it must be managed through risk management strategies. Most farmers believe the weather is the result of certain cycles, possibly El Niño and La Niña, but the existence of changing weather conditions will need to be managed in some degree.
Source: Farmgate Blog