Climate change creating opportunities for specialty crop growers
The state climatologist for Illinois says it is not all gloom and doom when it comes to climate change, in fact, it is creating some opportunities for specialty crop growers.
Trent Ford points to the growing trend of warmer winters in areas like the Great Lakes region including northern Illinois.
“There are going to be opportunities to grow crops in Illinois that we have not been able to before that are going to be more viable, so that could open up the window to new and improved specialty crop markets and things like that.”
He tells Brownfield climate change has also triggered an increased interest in locally sourced produce.
“Buying items like apples, peaches and nuts grown in Illinois opposed to buying them at your local supermarket that may ship them in from other states or countries. Those sorts of opportunities that come along with climate change can actually be really beneficial to the specialty crop sector.”
Ford says while there are plenty of negatives when looking at the climate change picture as a whole, farmers can be more productive if they look at the issue from all angles and consider that in their farm management strategies.
Brownfield interviewed Ford at the Illinois Specialty Crop Conference in Springfield last week.