As we look to the future of agriculture, one issue should dominate the debate: the world’s climate continues to become warmer. Companies and governments have started working with farmers to take steps to reduce the severity of climate change, including the use of biotechnology and genetic modifications.
The effects of global climate change will probably impact farmers more than other groups, because farming is almost entirely at the whim of precipitation and temperature. Because of global climate change, the USDA’s Economic Research Service in November predicted that, from 2020 to 2080, yields will decrease for corn, soybeans, sorghum, rice, cotton oats and silage, but will increase for wheat, hay and barley. In addition, the costs of irrigation for all of these crops will rise, due to increases in temperature, more frequent drought conditions, and the increasing scarcity of ground- and surface water. These changes will also change our definition of “normal,” from heat waves, droughts, pests, and diseases.