Research forecasts Iowa corn yields could drop in half within the next half-century thanks to extreme weather – yet it’s not part of the political conversation
Farmers are waiting for the next wave of soya beans, but the 12 inches of rainfall over the past few weeks have made it impossible to get into the fields to harvest.
The beans aren’t worth as much as they used to be either thanks to Trump’s trade war with China, but they’re worth even less staying wet in a pond that was a field.
This year’s crop in the Midwest United States is looking spotty. And it’s the least debated issue of the midterm political season. The weather is top topic of conversation at any cooperative elevator’s coffee table, along with the markets. Everyone is very aware that things are changing, it’s droughts in the spring, and floods in the fall – what were once considered 500-year floods 30 years ago are now considered 100-year floods. Iowa has been getting soggier in spring and fall, with scary dry spells.
The drainage system in the farmland is delivering runoff rich in farm fertilizer to the Mississippi river complex and the Gulf of Mexico, where the nitrate from Iowa and Illinois corn fields is growing a dead zone the size of New Jersey. The shrimping industry is being deprived of oxygen so Iowa farmers can chase 200 bushels of corn per acre – and hope against hope that corn will somehow increase in price as we plow every last acre.
The University of Minnesota forecasts, based on research at NASA, that Iowa corn yields could drop in half within the next half-century because of extreme weather and soil depletion.
Yet nobody is talking about it. The politicians just haven’t caught up yet. This will hopefully become an issue at the next presidential election in 2020.
[via The Guardian]