Farmer in Iowa City notices similar changes outlined in federal climate change report

Published: Nov. 27, 2018 at 4:45 PM CST
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An Iowa farmer said changes in climate have forced her to adjust. And she's worried about what next year will bring.

Kate Edwards owns Wild Woods Farm, and her observation mirrors a federal climate change report released Friday.

The report mentions Iowa specifically and outlines how wetter springs, dryer summers, and overall higher temperatures will hurt crops. President Trump says he doesn't believe some of the analysis from his own administration.

Edwards just wrapped up her growing season at Wild Woods Farms. She started her own organic vegetable farm, just outside of Iowa City, about nine years ago.

“I produce 80 acres of vegetables, and this is where I deal with it all before I get it to the customers,” Edwards said.

While science has consensus on climate change, politicians obviously do not. But Edwards sees that something is happening, and the evidence was in this year's onion crop.

"I have never had to irrigate onions. This year I had to irrigate onions,” Edwards said.

The National Climate Assessment report says dryer summers are in Iowa's future because of temperature increases tied to the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. But it's complicated, because the changing climate also says heavy rains that cause flooding are likely to increase.So instead of steady precipitation and periods of dryness, the report claims Iowa will experience more intense rainfall that could increase erosion, decrease yields, and let fungus and pests thrive.

“The brunt of the impact of these changing climates and things like that, saying that the farmer is solely responsible to mitigating it, a farmer can only carry so much on their back,” Edwards said.

The report also calls for a vast reduction in greenhouse gasses - which would require buy in from government and business. Something President Trump doesn't support.

"Yeah, I don't believe it,” Trump told reporters Monday.

In the meantime, Edwards says she relies on farming friends for advice. She thinks government has a place in addressing climate change, but she can't wait.

“So the minute I realized I couldn't get the onions on the ground in April I was on the phone with my mentor and on the phone with farmers, to figure out how to do this,” Edwards said.

The report also says the Midwest will experience more flooding when it rains. Edwards says she has conditional plans to plant on top of hills, if need be.

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