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Specialty Crops and Climate Change in the Midwest

The Midwest is a critically important region for the production of specialty crops. In the 2022 USDA Census of Agriculture, total annual revenue for some Midwest specialty crops included:

  • Vegetables –  $2.6 billion 

  • Wheat – $2.1 billion 

  • Fruit & Tree Nuts – $1.2 billion

  • Berries – $445.1 million

  • Christmas trees – $81.2 million

  • Barley – $34.5 million

Given the importance of specialty crop production in the Midwest, the USDA Midwest Climate Hub is developing crop-specific climate impact assessments for growers and for professionals who advise growers. These assessments, which you can find under each section below, include:

  • Historical trends in key climate variables in the Midwest

  • Projections for future Midwest climate

  • Expected impacts of a changing climate on key specialty crops

  • Adaptation & management strategy options for growers of these crops

The goal of these assessments is to provide high-level guidance on climate impacts to specialty crop production in the Midwest and a general roadmap for on-farm response.

Christmas Trees

Report: Climate Change Impacts on Christmas Tree Production in the Midwestern Region

Developed by the Midwest Climate Hub, Michigan State University, and Washington State University

Two maps of Christmas tree production in the Midwest, displaying county-level farms and county-level production area. Maps show heaviest production in central and northern Wisconsin, throughout Michigan, and in northeast Ohio counties.
Christmas tree production by county, according to the 2022 USDA Census of Agriculture. Maps show total production by farms (a) and acres (b).

Additional Resources

Michigan State Extension - Christmas trees program

University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension - Selected resources on Christmas trees

Illinois Extension - Christmas trees webpage with localized resources and information

Purdue Extension - Selected resources on Christmas trees for Indiana producers

Non-Midwest Extension Programs

Tree Fruits & Vineyards

Coming in Summer 2024: Climate Change Impacts on Midwest Tree Fruits and Vineyards

University of Wisconsin-Madison & USDA Midwest Climate Hub 

Additional Resources

Midwest Extension fruit programs by state

Relevant Climate Tools

Michigan State University Enviroweather

Select your specific crop in the upper-left menu for crop-specific tools.

State weather monitoring networks

Real-time maps by state and region

MesoWest - Access current data from the weather station near you.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service - Service Center Locator

Future Work

The Midwest Climate Hub is developing additional resources on climate change impacts in other specialty crop types. Are you looking for any particular resources or information? Let us know.