An article in the Des Moines Register, appearing at the top of Google News search for the term “climate change” today, claims Iowa farmers are suffering due to supposed human caused climate change. This is false. Rather than suffering, Iowa farmers, like farmers across the United States, have experienced consistently high crop production during the modest warming of the past half-decade.
A Des Moines Register story titled, “On climate change, Iowa farmers are between a rock and a hard place,” was picked up by a number of other media outlets. It claims political ideology is causing Iowa farmers to reject the claim that humans are causing dangerous climate change which threatens their livelihoods.
“On the one hand, farmers are experiencing firsthand that long-term weather patterns are changing, changes that increasingly threaten not only their livelihoods, but the viability of the farms they hope to leave to their children and grandchildren as well,” writes the Register.”
“On the other hand, like all of us, Iowa farmers are under the sway of their political tribe. And given that their tribe is primarily conservative, they are encouraged to embrace the narrative pushed by the oil industry that the evidence linking human activity and climate change is inconclusive,” the article continues.
The evidence indicates it is the Des Moines Register, not farmers, being blinded by political ideology, in particular the ideology of leftist climate alarmism.
Farmers are well aware of daily and yearly changes in weather patterns. Iowa farmers are justifiably skeptical of claims that humans are causing a climate catastrophe. The crop yields and production on their farms prove no catastrophe is in the offing. Indeed, crop yields and production have grown substantially during the period of modest warming. Record corn and soybean production, not supposed propaganda from the oil industry, accounts for farmers’ unwillingness to embrace the climate alarmist narrative.
With Iowa being the top producer of both corn and soybeans in the United States, it is hard to argue climate change is putting farmers “between a rock and a hard place.”
Data released by the Iowa office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) show, even with typical annual weather dependent ups and downs, Iowa farmers’ soybean production and yields have been consistently high over the past decade. Corn yields and production over the past decade in Iowa have also been consistently high, USDA data show. Indeed, the corn and soybean yields from 2015 through 2019 were the highest in the Iowa’s history as seen in Figure 1 below.
What’s true of Iowa is true of other major corn producing states, as well. Data show corn production in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Ohio, have set records multiple times over the past 50 years, with the yield records in each state being set since 2010.
Faced with the evidence of their senses, in this case the crops they harvest each year, Iowa farmers seem not to have been fooled by alarmists’ claims that human climate change is having catastrophic impact on farming. Sadly, the evidence suggest the same can’t be said for Des Moines Register staff. Rather than consulting climate alarmist talking points, the Register should check the hard data on crop production and yields in order to report on the true state of Iowa agriculture. Doing so demonstrates there is much to celebrate.