“Farming is challenging, and it’s becoming even more challenging as climate change takes place,” says Brian Kemp, President of the Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition and organic beef farmer at Mountain Meadows Farm in Sudbury.
That’s the key takeaway in a recent article from the Associated Press, highlighting the challenges farmers are facing throughout the Northeast due to an extreme drought brought on by climate change.
Here in Vermont, farmers are experiencing low crop yield and quality, especially hay and corn for livestock, including dairy cows, according to Anson Tebbetts, Vermont’s Secretary of Agriculture, Food & Markets. In Vermont, dairy creates $2 billion in economic activity per year.
Coupled with the rising costs of fuel and fertilizer, the economic outlook is grim, especially if farmers must purchase additional livestock feed to supplement what they cannot grow themselves.
These challenges speak to why the Farmer Coalition added “climate smart farming” to our mission statement earlier this year. Agricultural practices that protect water quality and support healthy soils are a part of climate mitigation, too. Climate smart farming also recognizes that farmers will need to continue to adapt their practices in order to thrive in a changing climate.
To learn more about the challenges farmers are facing during the drought, click here to read the Associated Press article.