Climate change report outlines challenges for agriculture

A new report on the risks of climate change to the U.S. economy contains some fairly dire predictions for agricultural production.

The report, entitled Risky Business, says production of corn, soy, wheat and cotton could decline by 14 percent by mid-century and up to 42 percent by late in this century as extreme heat spreads across the middle of the country.

The reports predicts that crop yields in the Midwest and southern U.S. will be negatively impacted by increased drought and flooding. At the same time, warmer temperatures and carbon fertilization may improve agricultural productivity and crop yields in the upper Great Plains and other northern states.

But according to Greg Page, executive chairman of Cargill, who served on the Risky Business advisory committee, those predictions do not take into account agriculture’s ability to adapt to and mitigate the impact of climate change.  Page believes that will happen, just as it has in the past.

Page participated in a Tuesday morning conference call with agricultural reporters.

AUDIO: Excerpts from Greg Page’s conference call with ag reporters (19:03 MP3)

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