Tonight, the Perpetual Notion Machine again looks into climate change. This time, how the impacts of climate change will/have effected agriculture and farming, and what, if anything, can farmers do in terms of current farming practices to adapt to the new realities of climate change. It seems that agriculture will need to develop new and innovative techniques in order to meet the growing demand for food sources. So, PNM’s Dennis Shaffer welcomes Chris Kucharik as our guest. Chris is an agroecologist, a professor of Agronomy and Environmental Studies at UW-Madison, and a member of the Science Council for the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI), focusing on agriculture.
Perhaps the most devastating impacts, that have also occurred recently in Wisconsin, are heavy rain events and flooding. These disrupt both the planting and growing of crops. Chris also mentions that heavy rains saturate the groundwater which raises the water table to the surface. Standing water in farm fields can last for weeks or months. To protect the soil from runoff due to flooding, farmers are beginning to alter farming practices, like using conservation tilling and cover crops to hold the soil in place from Fall to Spring.
For more information, here’s a link to the WICCI Agriculture Working Group.
Also, oddly enough, the EPA has a website devoted to Agriculture and Climate.
And finally, there’s some good information on the relationship between agriculture and climate change on the Lifegate Radio online website.