By mid-century, these impacts are expected to produce increasingly negative pressures on most crops and livestock.

Jaynes lynn
Emeritus Editor
Lynn Jaynes retired as an editor in 2023.

According to the report, the U.S. produces nearly $330 billion per year in ag commodities, all of which are vulnerable to direct climate changes (such as impacts through weather events) and indirect causes (increasing pressures from pests and pathogens that benefit from a changing climate).

These changes aren’t new but have been occurring over the past 40 years. Thus far, producers have adjusted through changing practices in rotations, planting times, genetic selection, pest and water management.

As a result, ag production has set records nearly continuously, testifying to the adaptability of agriculture and proving that climate change has the potential to both positively and negatively affect productivity of crops and livestock.

However, climate change also alters the stability of food supplies and creates food security challenges, causing price spikes and availability shortages until the industry is able to adapt and stabilize.


Plant response to climate change is dictated by complex interactions among carbon dioxide, temperature, solar radiation and precipitation. Each crop species has a temperature range for growth, along with an optimum temperature.

As temperatures increase over this century, crop production areas may shift to follow the temperature range for optimal growth and yield. Climate change is projected to affect the number of days with higher temperatures, changes in frost-free season length, change in number of hot nights, and shifting patterns of precipitation, which together will create more variation in soil water availability.

The western and southern parts of the nation show the greatest projected increases in consecutive dry days, while the number of hot nights is projected to increase throughout the U.S. Exposure to multiple hot nights increases the degree of stress imposed on animals resulting in reduced rates of meat, milk, and egg production.  FG