Climate change is likely to impact the corn market significantly over the next 20 years, scientists say in a research article published this week.
The journal Nature Climate Change contends that factors such as market policies or oil prices have comparatively little effect on corn prices than the climate. But heat waves sparked by rising global temperatures are expected to become more common, withering crops in Corn Belt states and triggering price spikes, the scientists say.
Farmers would be forced to increase their crops' heat tolerance, or move northward to near the Canadian border to avoid the heat waves.
"U.S. corn-price volatility exhibits higher sensitivity to near-term climate change than to energy policy influences or agriculture-energy market integration," researchers Noah S. Diffenbaugh, Thomas W. Hertel, Martin Scherer and Monika Verma wrote in the article published on Sunday.
The corn market is currently struggling with an over-supply, as more acreage has been planted in the U.S. than any year since 1937 according to one government estimate. The abundance has contributed to a drop in prices.
The article contends that policies do make a difference, particularly government mandates surrounding the corn market. Biofuel mandates, for example, are currently contributing to the oversupply of corn, and could make it difficult in future years for farmers to adjust to volatile yields, the authors say.
A 45-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax that was intended to support demand for ethanol expired last year after Congress refused to renew it. However, the article predicts that increased support for biofuels will continue to encourage more corn production as opposed to other crops.
by RTT Staff Writer
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