US Apple Farmers Struggle with Nationwide Water Shortage

The increasingly evident realities of climate change are producing serious consequences for agriculture around the world, and apple farmers in the United States are no exception. Each passing year is bringing warmer annual temperatures, longer droughts, and more severe weather patterns. For apple farmers, the cumulative effect of all of these unprecedented changes in the climate is detrimental.

At this point, readers who own a farm or who are interested in securing a USDA farm loan might be wondering: how have U.S apple farmers been coping with a dramatically changing climate, and what does the future have in store for this industry?

To shed some light on these questions, let’s begin by taking a closer look at how climate change is affecting the crop and livelihoods of apple farmers in the U.S.

The Impacts of Climate Change on the Apple Industry

One of the most pronounced results of climate change has been a sharp uptick in winter warm spells across the country. These often spell disaster for apple growers, because the warm weather can cause apple trees to blossom prematurely, which in turn leaves the buds dangerously exposed to frosts, freezing, and extreme winter weather. Oftentimes, trees that flower prematurely will die in the cold just as quickly as they sprang to life.

In 2012, no less than half of New York State’s total apple crop was completely wiped out after a February warm spell. Farmers across the state reported millions of dollars in lost profits.

Coping with a Changing Climate

Apple farmers across the country are struggling to adapt to the stark realities brought on by a changing climate. “We’re fighting for our lives in this moment of climate change,” says Elizabeth Ryan, an apple farmer in Stone Ridge, New York.

For those farmers who have the financial means to implement new practices and technologies to their modes of production, there are some experimental new growing methods and species of more resilient crops which could yield some promising results. For many others, the costs of these new technologies are prohibitively expensive. For all apple farmers, however, an increasingly volatile climate promises to produce even greater challenges in the years to come.

However, if farmers are interested in implementing new technology, or changing their operations, agriculture grants and refinancing programs could be a viable solution. Grants and loans could allow farmers to implement water conservation technologies, experiment with different crops, and make changes to their existing infrastructure.

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USDA farm loans can go a long way towards protecting your property’s financial future. Contact us today to find out what a loan can do for you!