Farmers Adapting to Climate Change
Farmers are used to adjusting for weather, but some are adjusting for climate change by planting a variety of crops, sowing cover crops and leaving land unplowed.
Many small farmers fear adjusting to climate change will add more regulations to their already declining bottom line. But others, such as sixth-generation farmer Wade Dooley, say more erratic and extreme weather events related to climate change mean farmers need to adopt mitigation strategies.
"So that we can keep operating, so we can keep farming, so that this isn't a sixth-generation farm that stops after me — because the weather's not gonna stop, the climate is going to continue to change," Dooley said. "We don't hit the brakes and stop things from happening, we just can slow them down and keep them from being horrible."
Some farmers and landowners are adopting conservation practices to reduce anticipated flood impacts.
Katie Rock, with the Center for Rural Affairs, said when talking to farmers, it's increasingly clear that many want to innovate on their farms to address climate change.
"They've taken the initiative to add on-site solar power and make energy-efficient upgrades, and these changes have led to significant cost-savings," Rock said. "And farmers and landowners, they also lead through conservation practices that can improve soil health."
Matt Russell is with Interfaith Power and Light and believes states that provide America's food are in a position to lead the conversation on climate change.
He said to deal with a changing climate, government policy makers will need to not only encourage maximum yields, but also incentivize carbon farming.