Climate preparedness makes good business sense. The Earth’s climate is always in flux, but today’s pace of change is far beyond what previous generations of farmers have had to face. Climate change is already posing new challenges, such as increased risk of flooding, summer heat stress, and more intense pest and weed pressures.
Some farmers are beginning to plan to minimize the risks and capitalize on opportunities. In New York, there will be plenty of both. Making business decisions on future scenarios is always a hair- raising endeavor, even more so with the complication of trying to discern between normal weather variability and long-term climate shifts. Many of the commodities that currently dominate the New York agricultural sector, like dairy products, apples, cabbage, and potatoes, are not well suited for the warming trends predicted for this century. However, there will be profitable opportunities to experiment with new crops or new crop varieties as temperatures rise and the growing season lengthens.