flooded field

When record-breaking floods aren’t dominating headlines, it may become easier to let the long-term effects of extreme weather events caused by climate change fall to the back of one’s mind. 

The ongoing agricultural impacts, however, are staggering. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture releases a crop progress report each week, where Iowans can compare this year’s crop progress to years past. According to the most recent report, released Monday, only 1% of corn has reached the silking stage — compared to 31% at this time last year

Soybeans, another major Iowa crop, are slowing as well. The percent of soybeans that have emerged is down 4% from both last year’s percentage and the state’s five-year average. The percent having bloomed is down 35% from this time last year and down 23% from the average. 

This shouldn’t be a surprise. The fourth National Climate Assessment predicted flooding and “extreme precipitation” would increase throughout the Midwest, with substantial impacts on crop production, which subsequently impacts the state’s economy. Specifically, the report warns of a 25% decrease in corn production by the middle of the century.

Perhaps, had it not been disbanded, the Iowa Climate Change Impacts Committee could have predicted this as well. No such committee has been formed since, and the most recent publication mentioning “climate change” in the State Library is from 2015. 

While researchers around the state study the impacts of climate change in various capacities, the state government has taken an adamantly reactive stance. While it made resources available to those who suffered from the floods this spring, it failed to listen to voices that could have helped strengthen the state’s infrastructure and agriculture in preparation for the flooding.

In a gubernatorial debate last year, Gov. Kim Reynolds described the impacts of climate change as “overstated.” However, her administration has done little to study what those impacts even look like.

As far as the first half of 2019 goes, those impacts include dramatic decreases in crop production, destroyed homes and one death attributed to the flooding.

Iowans have the brainpower, tools and drive to study these issues and find solutions. Let them.

Opinion Policies

Opinions expressed in columns and letters are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Daily or organizations with which the author(s) are associated. 

Feedback policy: The Daily encourages discussion but does not guarantee its publication. We reserve the right to edit or reject any letter or online feedback. The goal of the opinion section is to spark civil public discourse by publishing opinions based on facts that articulate an argument. The merit of a piece's ability to further public discourse, among other factors, will be considered when determining if a piece is publication worthy. 

Letter to the Editor Submission Link

(1) comment

Steve Gregg

You are mistaking weather for climate. You are talking about the change in weather from last year to this, when climate is established in forty year trends. So far, it looks like it has been slightly cooling the last three years after a twenty year temperature hiatus. That means there is no trend. Temperature is doing a random walk. Your false claim of perilous climate change is typical of the fallacious logic scaremongers employ to conjure up this popular delusion. You see climate change under your bed and in your soup. Reasonable people should dismiss your fantastic claims.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.