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Ag Preps for Climate Change

By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter

ARLINGTON, Va. (DTN) — Attendees at USDA’s annual Agricultural Outlook Forum in Virginia this week are getting an earful about the challenges posed by increasingly volatile weather extremes.

Speakers in at least three separate sessions on Thursday wrestled with how major ag players — regulators, insurers, scientists and farmers — can try to prepare for increasingly costly weather disasters, particularly flooding and severe storms.

The 2019 crop year was a master class in the rising environmental risks producers face, noted Richard Fordyce, administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Extreme weather — primarily flooding and excess rain — forced 20 million acres of cropland into prevented planting. According to NOAA, the U.S. weathered 14 severe weather and climate events — three major floods, eight severe storm systems, two tropical storms and a wildfire — with each costing more than $1 billion in losses to the economy.

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