In the wake of the worst drought in more than fifty years, farmers across the Midwest, especially corn farmers are being forced to shift their crop production to adapt to new climate patterns.
For the past several months, farmers across the country have faced a severe and long-lasting drought. With more than 3/5 of the country facing severe drought conditions and with more than 1,000 counties being declared disaster areas, crop production plummeted as farms were pummeled by the weather.
In addition to the drought, farmers have faced a host of other weather concerns. Warmer winters and earlier springs have led to an earlier blossoming of fruit plants, which were then hit by winter frosts, heavy storms have helped wash away topsoil, and a warm winter prevented soil from freezing, which prevented a thaw that allows the ground to soak up moisture.
In the face of the changing climate, farmers are finding themselves rethinking their production patterns and their agricultural practices. Farmers are finding themselves embracing voluntary conservation methods in order to protect soil and preserve the local ecosystem (all of which can help boost production). In addition, farmers are considering planting new crops. Soybeans, for example, can grow well in warmer winters, as can many cool weather vegetables.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer