Mini Workshop #3: Agricultural Productivity - March 22, 2002 East Lansing, Michigan

Climate Change and Agriculture in the Great Lakes Region:
The Potential Impacts & What We Can Do

Farmers, landowners, Michigan Farmerīs Buerau, MSU extension agents, members of various specialty crops and fruit commissions (potato, cherry, bean, celery), Michigan Environmental Council, and others—about 70 people attended the Climate Change and Agriculture in the Great Lakes Region: The Potential Impacts and What We Can Do workshop at Michigan State University in East Lansing on March 22, 2002.

Meteorologists, from the Great Lakes Regional Assessment, outlined some of the things from studying the climate models: Today, we see about 10-20 hot summer days in Michiagn with temperatures over 90 degrees (°F). We may see 45 hot summer days in the future and in some years, the whole 90 days of summer could remain over 90 degrees.

Longer, warmer summers will be particularly good for Michigan soybeans farmers, who might now consider doublecropping soybeans after wheat, as they now do in Southern Illinois. Increased soybean yield is probably due not only to warmer temperatures, but also to an increase in carbon dioxide and to a longer growing season. Grape grower Doug Welsch from Fenn Valley Vineyards in Fennville said that he is planting varieties today he would have rejected as “too tender” when he started his farm 29 years ago. The growing season may increase by 12-20 days by 2034, according to a study by Julie Winkler and Jeff Andresen (MSU).

On the other hand, Michigan's cool summer climate which produces 75 percent of the nation's cherries is likely to be at risk. Warm, late falls, for example, delay onset of winter acclimation and can reduce cold hardiness. “If we still get very cold weather events in winter, they hurt us more,” said Jim Nugent, coordinator of the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station, Traverse City. Grapes, peaches, and sweet cherries don't like extremely low winter temperatures.

“You can argue if you want to about whether global warming is or isn't happening and what's causing it. But the fact is, you and your children are going to live and work in the environmnent of the future, and the clmate will affect what you do and how you do it.”
—Dick Lehnert, The Farmer´s Exchange

Agenda (html / pdf)

Speaker Presentations

Q&A Periods

Workshop Report (Paper report available on request)

Invitation or Flyer

Press Release


Others (ex. video)