HOTTER FIELDS, LOWER YIELDS?
Friday, April 24th, 2009 -- 2:51 pm
Posted by Riley Hebert-News Director
An environmental group released a study this month showing global warming will cost farmers $1.4 billion every year in reduced corn production.
But, one expert doesn’t buy the science
"A lot of the conclusions they draw really, really stretch the evidence and draw an unfamiliarity with the way agriculture works," says Dr. Matt Roberts, Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics at Ohio State University.
The study claims global warming will reduce corn yields. They simply multiply the current value of corn by the projected lost yield; they completely ignore supply and demand, Roberts notes.
"If it were true that this production were actually declining, we'd see a price increase," he says, "If production was higher, as they said it should have been, we would have seen the price fall."
Then, there’s the fact corn yields have been increasing, not decreasing, as the study claims. The University of Illinois looked into it and found weather has been calmer.
"The conclusion that the University of Illinois came to is, in fact, in the last ten or twelve years, we've seen some of the most peaceful weather that we've seen for the previous 100 years," Dr. Roberts says, "From an agricultural perspective, weather is getting better."
The study claims Wisconsin farmers would be among the big losers due to lost yield, but Roberts says, if anything, the Corn Belt might eventually shift north, making Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan ideal corn country.