Agriculture

Climate disruptions to agriculture have been increasing and are projected to become more severe over this century. 


Some areas are already experiencing climate-related disruptions, particularly due to extreme weather events. While some U.S. regions and some types of agricultural production will be relatively resilient to climate change over the next 25 years or so, others will increasingly suffer from stresses due to extreme heat, drought, disease, and heavy downpours. From mid-century on, climate change is projected to have more negative impacts on crops and livestock across the country – a trend that could diminish the security of our food supply. 

The U.S. produces nearly $330 billion per year in agricultural commodities. This productivity is vulnerable to direct impacts on crop and livestock development and yield from changing climate conditions and extreme weather events, and indirect impacts through increasing pressures from pests and pathogens. Climate change has the potential to both positively and negatively affect agricultural systems at local, national, and global scales. Climate change will also alter the stability of food supplies and create new food security challenges for the U.S. as the world seeks to feed nine billion people by 2050. 

The agricultural sector continually adapts through a variety of strategies that have allowed previous agricultural production to increase, as evidenced by the continued growth in production and efficiency across the United States. However, the magnitude of climate change projected for this century and beyond, particularly under higher emissions scenarios, will challenge the ability of the agriculture sector to continue to successfully adapt.

Melillo, Jerry M., Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and Gary W. Yohe, Eds., 2014: Highlights of Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program, pp. 46–47, Print.
http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights/report-findings/agriculture