Great Lakes Pennsylvania Agriculture

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Climate Change in Pennsylvania


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Climate Change Impacts:

Pennsylvania ranks among the top states nationwide in dairy, oats, and fruit production. It is also a top producer of eggs, poultry, livestock, vegetables, soybean, and corn. There are likely to be some positive impacts for agriculture resulting from a warmer climate, although current evidence suggests that the negative consequences could outweigh the positive. In general, however, regional development technological advances, and market fluctuations have as much influence on farming as the climate.

Changes in climate, precipitation cycles, and severe weather will have many affects upon agriculture in Pennsylvania, including:

  • More Favorable Conditions for Some Pests
    Warmer winters and longer freeze-free periods combined with shifts in rainfall, will create more favorable conditions for a number of pests and pathogens.

  • Changes in Crop Yield
    Pennsylvania Farm Increases atmospheric carbon dioxide and nitrogen as well as a longer growing season could boost yields of some crops. However, higher ozone concentrations can damage soybeans and horticultural crops, countering positive impacts of a warmer climate. In addition, severe storms and floods during planting and harvest seasons could decrease crop productivity. Hotter and drier summers and potentially more droughts would hurt crops and may require irrigation of previously rain-fed crops, costing farmers and increasing pressures on water resources.
  • A Decrease in Livestock Productivity
  • High temperatures suppress appetite and decrease weight gain in livestock while warmer winters and less snow cover are predicted to reduce the quantity and quality of spring forage, and thus, milk quality.

Photo Credits:
Canvasback -- National Park Service, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Pennsylvania Farm -- Courtesy of USDA.
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