AFT: By 2040, 80 percent of cropland production in the contiguous United States at risk, due to climate change.

Changes to weather patterns could hinder production of basic crops, according to new research published by the American Farmland Trust. By 2040, 80 percent of cropland production in the contiguous United States will be at risk from rising temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns, due to climate change.

The new report Projected Climate Impacts on the Growing Conditions for Rainfed Agriculture in the Contiguous United States examines the likelihood that use of present-day varieties and production practices will continue to be feasible by 2040 for rainfed croplands where corn, wheat, and apples are grown.

In its Building Resilience paper, AFT proposes policy solutions at the state and federal level to provide the support producers need, including in the next Farm Bill. Congress can build on historic conservation investments in the Inflation Reduction Act and take other actions to provide longer-term support to help producers adapt, build resilience to, and mitigate climate change. AFT will release a series of white papers in the coming months detailing additional actions Congress can take in the next Farm Bill to support soil health, farmland protection and access, and farm viability.

“The window of opportunity to change the trajectory of the changing climate and avoid further compounding impacts is rapidly closing – but with the right tools and support, agricultural producers can adapt to and help reverse these trends,” Piotti said. “Combine that with support for implementing emissions reduction and resiliency building and we have a game changer.”