USDA released an interagency report on climate change and its effects on agriculture, projecting that by 2050, the impacts of climate change, while mixed, “are expected to have a generally detrimental effect on most crops and livestock.” EPA also released its “Climate Change Adaptation Plan,” asking for public comment on the report which states change is happening at “an increasingly rapid rate.”
Control costs will go up, with livestock production being negatively impacted by heat stress, along with an increase in insects and disease under warmer, more humid conditions, USDA said. A separate USDA report on the impact of climate change on forests was also released, and that report basically said much the same as the ag report. USDA has also released its “2012 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan” as well as a “Climate Change Adaptation Plan.” All reports can be found at www.usda.gov and www.epa.gov. Meanwhile, the National Farmers Union (NFU) sent a letter this week to Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D, RI), cochairs of the House/Senate task force on climate change, thanking them for their efforts, saying climate change is “a significant concern to our membership, and will be a defining trend that shapes the world.” The NFU letter was in response to a Waxman/Whitehouse request of the group to provide input to the task force.