The U.S. is not immune to the devastation wrought by floods, droughts, and other climate-fueled disasters on agricultural production, the Guardian reports. Crop damage and devastation worldwide, exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine, have caused or contributed to increased food prices, shortages, and potentially, famine around the world this year. U.S. wheat growers plant different varieties of wheat at different times of year, and none have been spared.
Yields of the wheat used to make bread, bagels and pizza are down 25%. Heavy rains and a surprise spring blizzard waterlogged spring crops, and now drought has so dramatically lowered the level of the Mississippi River that growers are struggling to ship their yields to market. In Florida’s Citrus Belt, Hurricane Ian literally ripped more than half of oranges right off their trees.
California farmers planted about half as many acres of rice as usual, the least of any time in the last 70 years, due to the water shortages caused by the years-long megadrought, which will also likely reduce the region’s tomato yields by about 10%. Least critical for global sustenance (but perhaps most emotionally tragic – Ed.), New Mexican green chile harvests were devastated by heavy rains with parts of the state recording their wettest monsoon season since the second Cleveland administration. (The Guardian; Climate Signals background: Drought, Extreme precipitation increase, Western megadrought)