Climate Impacts on Agriculture and Food Supply

May 27, 2024

Agriculture is an important sector of the U.S. economy. The crops, livestock, and seafood produced  in the United States contribute more than $300 billion to the economy each year.

When food-service and other agriculture-related industries are included, the agricultural and food sectors contribute more than $750 billion to the gross domestic product.

Agriculture and fisheries are highly dependent on the climate. Increases in temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2) can increase some crop yields in some places. But to realize these benefits, nutrient levels, soil moisture, water availability, and other conditions must also be met. Changes in the frequency and severity of droughts and floods could pose challenges for farmers and ranchers and threaten food safety.

Meanwhile, warmer water temperatures are likely to cause the habitat ranges of many fish and shellfish species to shift, which could disrupt ecosystems. Overall, climate change could make it more difficult to grow crops, raise animals, and catch fish in the same ways and same places as we have done in the past. The effects of climate change also need to be considered along with other evolving factors that affect agricultural production, such as changes in farming practices and technology.

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