Climate change is an issue that is made all the more complex by the number of unexpected results that are experienced by all sorts of different people, all around the world. The crucial thing when it comes to assessing climate change is recording all irregularities, in a whole range of industries. Agriculture is most definitely an industry where people have felt the effects of climate change for better and for worse. One of the most interesting cases when it comes to agriculture and climate change is Colorado. Let’s take a look at what’s changing.
The Difficulties For Colorado Agriculture
Climate change is having an effect on agriculture in Colorado, there’s no question of that. “The agricultural situation in Colorado is in a state of constant fluctuation which is very difficult to deal with. Climate change is so difficult to predict in how it will affect things meaning that farmers and farming administrators are always playing catch up”, explains Martin O’Shea, a structural engineer at WriteMyx and BritStudent. This insecurity creates real difficulties for an industry that depends on making predictions about the future for success. The vulnerability that the agricultural field is facing is something that makes climate change dangerous before even looking at what the effects even are. There’s always something to worry about.
The Pros And The Cons
Climate change, as mentioned already, is an immensely varied element to agriculture. Tracking all the externalities is essentially impossible and means that the results are the only way to gauge what’s changing. Though the unpredictability factor is difficult in itself, surprisingly enough it’s not all doom and gloom and there is something for farmers to be happy about as they try to assess the results of climate change on their field (pardon the pun!). But first, let’s discuss the bad. Colorado is not close to large bodies of water like the ocean or the Great Lakes. This means that any change to temperatures is given a multiplier in Colorado, as landlocked as it is. As temperatures rise, this means that the whole of Colorado gets thirstier, with few resources to do anything about it. The snowpack shrinks and the crops demand more liquid to keep up their growth, liquid that will never come in some cases. Irrigation, a system that is hugely reliant on water, will be slowed, through policy and natural causes, and the whole of Colorado agriculture will suffer. On the other hand, with warmer temperatures all year round, shorter winters will allow for a longer growing season which may actually lead to two crops a year, something that will have a huge impact on the industry as a whole for the better.
The Economic Impact
Particularly in the case of failing irrigation systems, the economic impact is potentially huge. “The financial impacts for the agricultural industry are limitless. We all need food, and global warming, particularly the lack of water, can cripple a once booming industry”, says Erika Smith, market analyst at 1Day2Write and NextCoursework. One of the other potentially problematic economic issues is that, if the climate change does have some positive boosts, even creating the possibility of a second crop each year, can confuse the market when there may not actually be the water to pay out on that potential. Confusion is a damaging state for any industry to be in from an economic standpoint.
Some Solution Potential
Of course, when problems like these arise, ones that threaten a whole industry, solutions are always sought after with a massive amount of vigor. In this instance, farmers have started to look for alternative crops and crop locations to maximize water without needing to push too hard on irrigation, a water-reliant process. Precision farming with lower stakes and more data coming in is also a possible option. Conversely, relying on plant evolution may be a much longer-term solution.
350 Colorado supports the permaculture movement, encouraging local communities to become more resilient by planting local, organic food with a variety of crops to promote healthy soil growth and carbon-free food sources.
The impact of climate change is immensely difficult to measure. So many unexpected externalities exist for all different industries, not least of all agriculture. Tracking and reacting to the highs and lows is a very difficult challenge. For Colorado, it’s a vital one that will dictate a lot of the future of their farming industry.
Joel Syder is a software engineer and writer at Case Study Help and PhD Kingdom. He enjoys helping people to find their way in the exciting field of agriculture as well as creating articles about things that excite him for AcademicBrits.