Climate Column - Pest and weed PressureBy Tom Driscoll, NFU Director of Conservation Policy and Education

Prior posts to NFU’s blog on climate change’s impacts on wildfire and temperature increases mention changing and increasing pest and weed pressure as negative consequences of climate change. Changing and increasing pest and weed pressure are concerns in all continental U.S. Climate Hub Regions.

Farmers know that pests and weeds interfere with yields. Lower yields can have negative consequences for food security, but risk can be managed with fertilizer and crop protection. However, fertilizer and crop protection increase the expense of production and can compound other climate change-related problems like runoff from extreme precipitation. Increases in the cost of production or reliance on synthetic chemical inputs, when excessive, can jeopardize the food system in other ways or cause other undesirable results, such as farmland consolidation, financial obstacles to entry for beginning farmers, and increased vulnerability to disruption in input supplies.

Have you experienced any changes in the pests or weeds you’ve encountered in recent years? Tell us in the comments below. These changes are alarming, but producers can take action to mitigate the impacts of climate change and to adjust to changes that can’t be avoided, protecting yields and food security. To learn how, revisit NFU’s blog frequently and check out USDA’s regional Vulnerability Assessments.

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