A changing climate is already being felt in the pocketbook. Whether these are direct, weather-related crop losses or new sources of income, weather and climate have a direct economic impact on Northeast producers.
Many are looking at long- and short-term strategies to improve their farm’s resilience to severe weather such as heavy rain storms or to profit from increasing average temperatures and longer growing seasons. Economic case studies provide additional insight on the impacts of climate change on specific producers and the solutions they have adopted. These can help farmers determine whether potential investments would be worthwhile. Other case studies analyze the value of potential solutions such as new infrastructure or equipment over the long term. In addition to these case studies, specific state resources and tools are available from NRCS and others. These include farm budgets, statistics, and various cost-benefit analyses.
Recent Case Studies
In the Northeast we are seeing more heavy rain but also extended dry periods. With this extreme and variable wet weather taking its toll on farms, a key question is: Does crop irrigation make sense as a farm resilience strategy given the overall increased precipitation in the Northeast? Surprisingly, a recent case study shows that irrigation pays.
Economic Case Study: Intervale Community Farm Benefits of Irrigation in Adapting to Climate Change »
Open Two-Pager Case Study Summary »
Heavy rains are also changing the economics of road stream crossings. Flash floods, and seasonal flooding events can trigger catastrophic disturbances in forest ecosystems when floodwaters exceed the ability of a culvert to pass water. When culverts or stream structures are overtopped or plugged by woody debris (like sticks and branches), this can lead to soil disturbances and streambank erosion that often deliver large volumes of sediment downstream.
Economic Analysis of 4 Different Fish Passage Alternatives with Varying Costs, Annual Maintenance and Replacement in Maine »
Flood events caused by undersized or poorly designed stream-crossings can impart major damage to wildlife habitat and adjacent properties. Stream-crossings have a lower risk of failure if designed appropriately for the stream, and with consideration of current and future regional climate conditions.
Other Case Studies, Tools and Resources
NRCS Agricultural State Economic Resources »
NRCS Economic Tools »
NRCS Cover Crop Economics Decision Support Tool »
Energy Estimator: Irrigation »
Energy Estimator: Nitrogen »
Energy Estimator: Tillage »
Boat Ramp Stream Crossing »
Nutrient and Sediment Control System: Smith Farm »
Sharing Resources between a Crop and Livestock Operation »
Slotted Dewatering Fence in Corner of Manure Pit »
Economics and Survival of Hand-Planted Riparian Forest Buffers in West Central Maine »
Raksznis/Dean Access Road and Forest Trails and Landings Erosion Control »
Water Conservation, Transition from a Big Gun Irrigation System to a Center Pivot Irrigation System »
Magos Dairy: No-till and cover cropping »
Angel Rose Dairy: Soil Health »
Anaerobic Digester Case Studies and Fact Sheets »