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How the Drought Could Actually Help Farms

Devastated corn could prompt change: William G. Moseley
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2012 12:19 PM CDT
How the Drought Could Actually Help Farms
This photo from July 31, 2012 shows dried corn plants in Yutan, Neb.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

The drought is devastating America's corn crops—but that could actually be a good thing, argues William G. Moseley in the New York Times. Right now, the Midwest is "dangerously focused" on corn and soybeans, and the lack of diversity "restricts our diets, degrades our soils, and increases our vulnerability to droughts." The drought could lead, finally, to the changes that are needed in order "to make our food system less vulnerable."

Corn is extremely vulnerable when it comes to drought, meaning that just one quarter of this year's crop is thought to be in good condition—and droughts will likely become more common, thanks to climate change, meaning that we must rethink "our over-reliance on this single crop," Moseley writes. One proposed farm bill is a good start, as it would take aim at the federal subsidies that drive this over-reliance. But to truly address the problem, we must relax federal subsidies for ethanol, "incentivize mixed crop and livestock farms," and implement a crop insurance program that takes climate change into account by encouraging "more drought-tolerant planting strategies." Click for Moseley's full column. (More corn stories.)

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