Climate Change Worries California Farmers

With farmers across the country coming out of one of the mildest winters in recent memory, many farmers, particularly in diverse agricultural powerhouses like California, are worried that the changing weather could create long-term hardships.

Most importantly, many farmers say, the changing weather patterns are disrupting traditional production cycles. In many parts of the country, such as the Midwest and the Northeast, warming winters and earlier springs could be beneficially. Many Midwestern planters are taking advantage of the warm weather by planting and harvesting an earlier commodity crop.

Some specialized crops, however, could be seriously hurt by the changing weather. In California, for example, walnuts, almonds, apricots, and some wine grapes depend on reasonably reliable weather. Earlier springs and warmer winters may cause many of these crops to bloom too early, creating staggered blooms and damaging buds.

In addition to the immediate damage caused by climate change, some farmers are worried about new state and federal regulations that are designed to address long-term environmental damage. In California, the state government recently passed legislation designed to curb greenhouse gas production, legislation similar to the failed federal cap and trade bill. This law may open up farmers, particularly dairy farmers, to additional taxes and fines.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer