Check out two new studies that consider how a changing climate will likely affect livestock and crops in the Northeast.
The first, “Climate change effects on livestock in the Northeast US and strategies for adaptation” was led by Alexander Hristov, Professor of Dairy Nutrition at Penn State. He and co-authors found that there would be minimal negative impacts to the Northeast beef and dairy industries. Of more concern would be manure management given the increasing intensity of rainfall expected. Disease and disease vectors (ticks, mosquitos) are another area for concern.
Also just out is, “Unique challenges and opportunities for northeastern US crop production in a changing climate” led by David Wolfe, Professor of Plant and Soil Ecology at Cornell University. This paper finds that water management will be a serious future challenge for Northeast farmers. Projections show increased frequency of heavy rain, as well as more frequent summer water deficits. New opportunities include increased double cropping and new varieties. Among the greatest vulnerabilities for the fruit crop industry of the region is an extended period of spring frost risk. This paper uses Farm Service Agency data to show how extreme rainfall and temperatures are already affecting Northeast farming losses.
Both papers discuss practical ways farmers can adapt their operations to deal with expected changes. Both papers also feature new details on how the Northeast Climate is likely to change based on models used for the next National Climate Assessment and are freely available (“open access”).