Sunday, October 5, 2008

Helping Farmers Cope with Climate Change

According to a recent article in the Des Moines Register, climate change is expected to make Iowa even more important as a breadbasket for the world- primarily by reducing agricultural production in poorer countires during a time when global food demand is rapidly increasing. This situation presents many opportunities for Iowans, especially farmers and agricultural researchers, to be a part of the solution. But what about those farmers in poor countries? Without access to the resources of the USDA and private agribusiness, how will they cope?

One solution would be through a climate change adaptation program that would provide training and resources to help poor farmers find solutions to maintain productivity. Such a program is being advocated by Oxfam America and others as a way to reduce poverty, promote national security, and cope with climate change. Climate change adaptation programs could work with current United States international programs and could be funded using some of the proceeds from a carbon cap-and-trade system. Variations of cap-and-trade have been endorsed by both candidates for President, and will likely come before Congress next year.

In the meantime, Iowans can act by signing the climate change petition, or by reading the article and emailing a letter to the editor highlighting the need to help all farmers adapt.

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