In the wake of a devastating drought that has crippled agricultural production across the country, American and international policymakers are questioning the efficacy of current agricultural structures, particularly the reliance on American production.
The United States has long been regarded as the breadbasket of the world, frequently stepping in when local agricultural production collapses. In 2010, for example, when drought crippled Russian wheat production, American exports helped feed nations whose grain supplies ran dangerously low. Worldwide, the United States is responsible for significant amounts of global grain production. 40 percent of the world’s corn, for example, is produced in the United States.
With the drought significantly damaging crop production, particularly corn production in the Midwest and the Corn Belt, some international policymakers are questioning the wisdom of relying on American production. Scientific research is helping to fuel some of these policy reconsiderations. According to scientists across the globe, the drought is related to global climate change and American farmers can expect severe and unpredictable weather to become a fact of life in the future.
In addition to production concerns, some scientists are suggesting that relying less and less on large-scale agribusinesses could help many communities adjust to climate change. Increasing local production and small-scale sustainable agriculture (that puts less strain on already taxed environments) could help insulate vulnerable communities from the worst ravages of climate change.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer