With climate change shifting planting seasons and drying up groundwater supplies, farmers around the world need to adapt.
“The nexus between climate change and food security is undeniable,” Secretary of State John Kerry noted on World Food Day last year. World leaders agree, and they established the United Nations Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture in September 2014.
Farmers can take concrete steps to adapt, right now, by implementing smart practices, including these:
Innovative crop strategies
Diversifying and rotating crops can increase farmers’ profits, maximize land use and keep soil healthy. New seed varieties are more resistant to climate-related stresses such as drought, disease and insects.
Infrastructure keeps farms productive in a changing climate. Appropriate irrigation can mean larger harvests, while increased ventilation and shading can promote herd health.
Community involvement is crucial: Seed banks can ensure that all local producers have access to the best, locally adapted crop varieties.
From Earth to space, new tools abound for the climate-smart farmer. Satellite weather data can keep producers a step ahead, planning next season’s land usage.
On the ground, communities can design food storage and transportation systems to minimize food waste, a problem responsible for more than 3 billion metric tons of extra carbon dioxide every year, according to the National Geographic Society. And with climate change altering weather patterns, crop insurance can protect farmers against devastating economic loss.
Governments can encourage these smart practices. More funding for research and resilience can help farmers thrive.