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

Climate change effects over the next 25 years will be mixed.  Continued changes by mid-century and beyond, however, are expected to have generally detrimental effects on most crops and livestock.  As temperatures increase, crop production areas may shift to follow the temperature range for optimal growth and yield, though production in any given location will be more influenced by available soil water during the growing season.  Weed control costs total more than $11 billion a year in the U.S.; those costs are expected to rise with increasing temperatures and carbon dioxide concentrations.

Changing climate will also influence livestock production.  Heat stress for any specific type of livestock can damage performance, production, and fertility, limiting the production of meat, milk, or eggs.  Changes in forage type and nutrient content will likely influence grazing management needs.  Insect and disease prevalence are expected to increase under warmer and more humid conditions, diminishing animal health and productivity. 

Note: For copies of the figures contained in this document, contact Jennifer Lohr at jlohr@oce.usda.gov or 202-720-8024.

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