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Alliance report: Risk mitigation key to handling climate change
 
By STEVE BINDER
Illinois Correspondent

LUTHERVILLE, Md. — A national group supported by agriculture interests and aimed at securing renewable energy, issued a report last week that calls a robust crop insurance program key to maintaining agriculture and forest production in the coming decades as climate changes grow.

The 25x25 Alliance, a nonprofit group based in Lutherville, Md., issued its report Agriculture and Forestry in a Changing Climate: Adaptation Recommendations last week. It notes several factors must come together for successful production to continue, as weather conditions become more unpredictable.

Some 40 leaders make up the Alliance’s Adaptation Work group, the panel that has spent about 18 months working on the report and toward the group’s main goal of seeing farms, forests and ranches provide 25 percent of all energy consumed in the country by 2025.

Members on the panel include the American Soybean Assoc., the National Corn Growers Assoc., the American Farm Bureau and several state organizations, including the Iowa Soybean Assoc.
“These are recommendations that mitigate risks posed by changes in our climate, while strengthening production, cutting input costs and improving the quality of the land, even in the context of weather-related disasters like those experienced in 2011 and 2012,” said Fred Yoder, the Work Group chair.

“This document offers producers, foresters and policymakers various pathways in the areas of research, production systems, risk management, decision tools and outreach, for building a more resilient ag and forestry system.”

To improve reaction to climate changes will mean depending upon a continued strong crop insurance program as well as more research, better technology and more communication between producers, policymakers and ag groups, the report states. It also calls for combined academic and private research for additional climate forecasting systems, in addition to conservation practices designed to preserve land’s productive capacity.

“The adaptation report focuses mostly on what agriculture is going to deal with in a changing climate,” said Roger Wolf, director of environmental services for the Iowa soybean group and a 25x25 member. “We believe that finding ways to adapt, and thinking about the tools and technologies and information we need to enable us to adapt, is one that resonates with agriculture.”
Smart phones and their applications will be critical to improving communication, the report suggests.

“With forethought, leadership and the right priorities, our nation’s agriculture and forestry systems can not only meet future challenges, but thrive in the midst of them,” the report states.
To read the entire report, go online to www.25x25.org
4/10/2013