Researchers say climate change will affect ag - The Packer

Researchers say climate change will affect ag

05/06/2014 05:57:00 PM
Tom Karst

Climate-related disruptions to fruit and vegetable growers will increase over the next 25 years, according to projections from the third National Climate Assessment.

The 840-page report, (, was written by 240 groups of authors who documented ways climate change is affecting agriculture, forestry and other sectors. Congress calls for the assessment every four years through the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

“Many agricultural regions will experience declines in crop and livestock production from increased stress due to weeds, diseases, insect pests, and other climate change induced stresses,” said William Hohensein, director of the USDA’s Climate Change Program Office, in a blog post about the report. By 2050, climate change will increasingly effect most crops and livestock, he said.

Hohensein said extremes in precipitation will challenge dryland and irrigated agriculture, potentially resulting in loss and degradation of soil and water resources unless new conservation methods are implemented.

Growers often try to survive current crop challenges and may not have the luxury of planning for long-term climate change, said Ray Gilmer, vice president of issues management and communication for the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association. Gilmer said water is a dominant issue for California growers.

“If they don’t get the water problem solved, the long-term challenge isn’t anything they can necessarily need to worry about because they might not be in business any more,” he said.

According to the report, there are “multiple lines of independent evidence” that confirm that human activities are the primary cause of the global warming of the past 50 years. Burning of coal, oil, and gas, and clearing of forests have boosted carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere by more than 40% since the Industrial Revolution, according to the report. The U.S. average temperature has increased by 1.3°F to 1.9°F since 1895, and most of this increase has occurred since 1970.

Temperatures are projected to rise another 2°F to 4°F in most areas of the U.S. in the next few decades, and by 2100 temperatures could rise by 3°F to 5°F under a lower emissions scenario and as much as a 5°F to 10°F rise for a higher emissions scenario, according to the report.

In California, the combination of a longer frost-free season, less frequent cold air outbreaks, and more frequent heat waves will accelerate crop ripening and maturity, reduce yields of corn, tree fruit, and wine grapes and increase irrigation use.

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Immokalee, Fl.  |  May, 07, 2014 at 08:52 AM


May, 07, 2014 at 08:55 AM

Junk science....scare tactics to keep his funding. Why do we pay for this garbage with our tax dollars?

Doug McManus    
Phoenix  |  May, 07, 2014 at 08:56 AM

The article is complete BS. Like Al Gore said back in 2007 by 2013 the polar ice caps would be melted. Fast forward 2014 still plenty of Ice on the Caps.

Produce Guy    
Texas  |  May, 07, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Obviously the people that deny the obvious, are not involved in produce procurement..

Alabama  |  May, 07, 2014 at 11:54 AM

This is not news...this is progressive propaganda.The Packer should know the difference.

Milan Dubravcic    
Albany  |  May, 07, 2014 at 12:45 PM

In Jan '06 Al Gore predicted that we only had 10 years left to save the planet from turning into a total frying pan and that oceans levels would overtake our coastal plains. Less than 2 years to go Al, how's that working out for you? In the late 60's Time Magazine was predicting the "coming global ice age" on their cover. How's that working out for them? Are these people ever held to account? The Packer loses credibility with hype like this.

Tom Karst    
Lenexa  |  May, 07, 2014 at 01:33 PM

Are the doubters questioning the facts presented in the report about man-made climate change or the conclusions and future projections? Tk

VA  |  May, 07, 2014 at 05:27 PM


Produce Guy    
Texas  |  May, 08, 2014 at 07:31 AM

What are you guys talking about??? What purpose does it serve anyone to invent stories about global warming and impending gloom and doom?? Oh, I forget, it's the crazy, atheist liberals once again trying to push their hidden agendas of wealth redistribution and communism upon the rest of us! Come on guys, really? This is the 21st century, we know a little more about how things work than we did a 100 years ago. If we are not going to trust our experts then who are we going to trust? We might as well, stop believing in Quantum physics or even in microbiology for that matter. I don't know about you all, but I have never seen one of them bacterias that liberals talk about?!!! Seriously?? if you have children and if there is even the slightless chance that our best scientist are right, what is the harm in heeding their warnings and try to leave our lives in a more sustainable way?? If nothing else, how is this a loosing proposition?

Green Leaf    
NJ  |  May, 08, 2014 at 08:10 AM

Produce Guy - my thoughts exactly. I could not believe the comments still doubting global warming - wake up people!! it is not about political party anymore or scare tacticts, everybody will be affected no matter what you believe in. If you think that providing for your children means money for education, vacation, latest technology gadgets etc you are wrong - they will ask you in 20-30 years when facing water and food shortages - what did you do to make the planet sustainable? It is very sad that in 21th century people can be so ignorant

phoenix  |  May, 08, 2014 at 09:33 AM

I have been in the business for 42 years, we have heard your rhetoric before. Over that period of time yields on all commodities have increased! WE have more fresh produce available than ever before. We source produce from all parts of the world. The earth has been sustainable for millions of years! Don't look for it to change. Also you seem to rule out Mans ability to come up with new ways and technology to provide food!! My guess is your an Obama liberal democrat. Like Al Gore said in 2007 the polar ice caps would be melted by 2013! Fast forward to 2014 still plenty of ice on the caps pure political BS

Produce Guy    
Texas  |  May, 08, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Doug, I too have been in business for several years. I have a degree in agricultural science, a major in business and also a minor in economics. In addition, I own a few produce related entities that range from production, logistics, distribution, all the way to fresh cut. I did not vote for Obama, but if using logic to determine my position on issues rather than letting a cookie-cutter predetermined (ancient) political ideology make up my mind for me makes me a liberal, then, I am guilty as charged. First of all, you are right, advances in production techniques, the abundance of cheap calories from oil and the use of chemical fertilizers have allowed for increased food production over the years. This is about to change. Without even mentioning the upcoming crisis in phosphorus or the impact that an increase in the cost of energy would have on food prices, I think that the main point of the global warming article was to make us take note of the increased volatility in food prices that we will likely suffer over the next few decades. As someone who deals with supermarkets on daily basis and who knows the importance of “affordable” price points, I can tell you that we have turbulent weather ahead for all of us (no pun intended). I think that being prudent and using our mind to mitigate possible human misery is neither liberal nor conservative, but only smart.

May, 12, 2014 at 09:05 PM

Doug, I totally agree. All these "scientists" worldwide have the same secret agenda to push American liberalism. These are the same people that want us to believe evolution existed. Good point about yields increasing. Yields have nothing to do with the new "science" behind the seed and farming practices, but merely proof that climate change is a hoax. Haha, Al Gore the politician was so wrong about that, so lets discredit all the climatologists information, too.

Rich Macaluso    
Hemet  |  May, 16, 2014 at 02:50 PM

I think that the globe has warmed and cooled over time and that climate has changed in many directions over time. The words used are important. The question is really "so what" or to quote our former SOS "Does it really matter?"???? I think it does and we should all be concerned about conserving water in California and the West and reducing emissions as best we can and have and practicing more sustainable and organic agricultural practices, BUT this representative of the Obama Admin is going beyond that.

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