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Agriculture in a Changing Climate

Changes in climate and extreme weather have already occurred and are increasing challenges for agriculture nationally and globally. Many of the impacts are expected to continue or intensify in the future. Because of the sensitivity of agriculture to weather and climate conditions, these impacts can have substantial direct and indirect effects on farm production and profitability.

The effects of a changing climate and climate variability are already being seen across the Midwest Region; over the past century, temperatures have risen across all seasons, growing seasons have become longer, precipitation patterns have changed, and extreme precipitation events have increased in frequency and severity. The impact of climate on agricultural production in the Midwest varies among years particularly in grain, vegetable, and fruit production. The diversity of the annual and perennial crops across the Midwest creates a range of responses to climate and weather. One of the goals of the Midwest Climate Hub is to work with each of these different commodities to determine the impacts that different conditions have on production.

Climate impacts on livestock and agricultural production are detectable via data-based observations in the United States. The following links give more information on these changes and observations.

USDA Yield Changes

USDA produces charts and maps displaying crop yields, crop weather, micromaps, and crop acreage animations. Charts and Maps produced include field crop changes in regards to yield, acreage and stocks by year.

National Climate Assessment: Midwest Region

The National Climate Assessment is a United States government, interagency, ongoing-effort, based in climate change science. It is a product of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). The USGCRP coordinates a team of experts and receives input from a Federal Advisory Committee. The Fourth National Climate Assessment is currently being developed. For the Third National Climate Assessment, released in 2014, USGCRP coordinated hundreds of experts and received advice from a sixty-member Federal Advisory Committee. NCA research is integrated and summarized in the mandatory ongoing National Climate Assessment Reports.

General Crop Production Information

USDA strives to sustain and enhance economical crop production by developing and transferring sound, research-derived, knowledge to agricultural producers that results in food and fiber crops that are safe for consumption. This page offers Crop Acreage and Yield reports and Crop Production Research inlcuding harvesting, crop market, field crop and commodity outlook reports.

Climate Change and Agriculture in the United States: Effects and Adaptation Agriculture Report

Agriculture in the United States produces approximately $300 billion a year in commodities with livestock accounting for roughly half the value. Production of these commodities is vulnerable to climate change through the direct (i.e., abiotic) effects of changing climate conditions on crop and livestock development and yield (e.g., changes in temperature or precipitation), as well as through the indirect (i.e., biotic) effects arising from changes in the severity of pest pressures, availability of pollination services, and performance of other ecosystem services that affect agricultural productivity. Thus, U.S. agriculture exists as a complex web of interactions between agricultural productivity, ecosystem services, and climate change.

Economic Research Service Data Products

The Economic Research Service provides key indicators, outlook analysis, and a wealth of data on the U.S. food and agricultural system. Along with information on farming practices, structure, and performance, ERS produces data on such diverse topics as farm and rural households, commodity markets, food marketing, agricultural trade, diet and health, food safety, food and nutrition assistance programs, natural resources and the environment, and the rural economy.

National Centers for Environmental Information

NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) hosts and provides public access to one of the most significant archives for environmental data on Earth. Through the Center for Weather and Climate and the Center for Coasts, Oceans, and Geophysics, we provide over 25 petabytes of comprehensive atmospheric, coastal, oceanic, and geophysical data.


Additional Resources