Skip to content
BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access August 13, 2013

US Food Security and Climate Change: Agricultural Futures

Eugene S. Takle EMAIL logo , David Gustafson , Roger Beachy , Gerald C. Nelson , Daniel Mason-D’Croz and Amanda Palazzo
From the journal Economics


Agreement is developing among agricultural scientists on the emerging inability of agriculture to meet growing global food demands. Changes in trends of weather conditions projected by global climate models will challenge physiological limits of crops and exacerbate the global food challenge by 2050. These climate- and constraint-driven crop production challenges are interconnected within a complex global economy, where diverse factors add to price volatility and food scarcity. Our scenarios of the impact of climate change on food security through 2050 for internationally traded crops show that climate change does not threaten near-term US food security due to the availability of adaptation strategies. However, as climate continues to change beyond 2050 current adaptation measures will not be sufficient to meet growing food demand. Climate scenarios for higher-level carbon emissions exacerbate the food shortfall, although uncertainty in projections of future precipitation is a limitation to impact studies.

JEL Classification: Q17; Q54


Burke, M., J. Dykema, D. Lobell, E. Miguel, and S. Satyanath (2011). Incorporating climate uncertainty into estimates of climate change impacts, with applications to US and African agriculture. NBER Working Paper Series, Working Paper 17092. in Google Scholar

FAO, (2010). FAOSTAT. Online database. in Google Scholar

Hamlin, J. (2012). 2012 Outlook report: Nighttime heat stress impact on corn crop. The Climate Corporation. in Google Scholar

Hatfield, J., K. Boote, B.A. Kimball, R., Izaurralde, D. Ort, A. Thomson, and D. Wolfe (2011). Climate impacts on agriculture: Implications for crop production. Agronomy Journal 103: 351–370. in Google Scholar

IPCC (2007). Summary for policymakers. In S. Solomon, D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor, and H.L. Miller (eds.), Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press. in Google Scholar

Jones, J.W., G. Hoogenboom, C.H. Porter, K.J. Boote, W.D. Batchelor, L.A. Hunt, P.W. Wilkens, U. Singh, A.J. Gijsman, and J.T. Ritchie (2003). The DSSAT cropping system model. European Journal of Agronomy 18: 235–265. in Google Scholar

JRC (2000). Global Land Cover 200. Joint Research Centre. Global Management Unit. European Commission. in Google Scholar

Le Treut, H., R. Somerville, U. Cubasch, Y. Ding, C. Mauritzen, A. Mokssit, T. Peterson, and M. Prather (2007). Historical overview of climate change. In S. Solomon, D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor, and H.L. Miller. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press. in Google Scholar

Lobell, D.B., and G.P. Asner (2003). Climate and management contributions to recent trends in U. S. agricultural yields. Science 299 (5609): 1032.Search in Google Scholar

Lobell, D.B. and S.M. Gourdji (2012). The influence of climate change on global crop productivity. Plant Physiology 160: 1686–1697. in Google Scholar

Lobell, D.B., G.L. Hammer, G. McLean, C. Messina, M.J. Roberts, and W. Schlenker (2013). The critical role of extreme heat for maize production in the United States. Nature Climate Change 3: 497–501. doi:10.1038/nclimate1832 in Google Scholar

Lobell, D.B., W. Schlenker, and J. Costa-Roberts (2011). Climate trends and global crop production since1980. Science 333: 208–218.Search in Google Scholar

Malcolm, S., E. Marshall, M. Aillery, P. Heisey, M. Livingston, and K. Day-Rubenstein (2012). Agricultural adaptation to a changing climate: Economic and environmental implications Vary by U.S. Region ERR-136, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.10.2139/ssrn.2112045Search in Google Scholar

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005). Ecosystems and human well-being: Scenarios. Washington, DC. Island Press.Search in Google Scholar

NARCCAP. North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (2013). in Google Scholar

Nelson, G.C., M.W. Rosegrant, A. Palazzo, I. Gray, C. Ingersoll, R. Robertson, S. Tokgoz, et al. (2010). Food security, farming, and climate change to 2050: Scenarios, results, policy options. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.Search in Google Scholar

Oerke, E.C. (2006). Crop losses to pests. Journal of Agricultural Sciences 144: 31–43. in Google Scholar

Pardey P.G., and J.M. Alston (2010). U.S. Agricultural research in a global food security setting. Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC.Search in Google Scholar

Peters, D.B., J.W. Pendleton, R.H. Hageman, and C.M. Brown (1971). Effect of night air temperature on grain yield of corn, wheat, and soybeans. Agronomy Journal 63: 809–809. in Google Scholar

Raskin, P., F. Monks, T. Ribeiro, D. van Vuuren, and M. Zurek (2005). Global scenarios in historical perspective. In R. Carpenter, S. Prabhu Pingali, E.M. Bennett, and M. Zurek (eds), Ecosystems and human well-being: Scenarios, Volume 2, 35–44. Washington, D.C. Island Press.Search in Google Scholar

Rosegrant, M.W, and IMPaCT Development Team (2012). International model for policy analysis of agricultural commodities and trade ( IMPACT ) Model Description. Washington D.C.Search in Google Scholar

StataCorp (2009). Stata. College Station, TX: StataCorp LP.Search in Google Scholar

Takle, E. S. (2011). Assessment of potential impacts of climate changes on Iowa using current trends and future projections. in Google Scholar

Tukey, J. W. (1977). Exploratory data analysis. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Search in Google Scholar

US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) (2008). Weather and climate extremes in a changing climate. CCSP SAP 3.3. products/sap-3-3-weather-and-climate-extremes-in-a-changing- climate.Search in Google Scholar

Walthall, C.L., J. Hatfield, P. Backlund, L. Lengnick, E. Marshall, M. Walsh, S. Adkins, M. Aillery, E.A. Ainsworth, C. Ammann, C.J. Anderson, I. Bartomeus, L.H. Baumgard, F. Booker, B. Bradley, D.M. Blumenthal, J. Bunce, K. Burkey, S.M. Dabney, J.A. Delgado, J. Dukes, A. Funk, K. Garrett, M. Glenn, D.A. Grantz, D. Goodrich, S. Hu, R.C. Izaurralde, R.A.C. Jones, S-H. Kim, A.D.B. Leaky, K. Lewers, T.L. Mader, A. McClung, J. Morgan, D.J. Muth, M. Nearing, D.M. Oosterhuis, D. Ort, C. Parmesan, W.T. Pettigrew, W. Polley, R. Rader, C. Rice, M. Rivington, E. Rosskopf, W.A. Salas, L.E. Sollenberger, R. Srygley, C. Stöckle, E.S. Takle, D. Timlin, J.W. White, R. Winfree, L. Wright-Morton, L.H. Ziska. (2012). Climate change and agriculture in the United States: Effects and adaptation. USDA Technical Bulletin 1935. Washington, DC. in Google Scholar

You, L., and S. Wood (2006). An entropy approach to spatial disaggregation of agricultural production. Agricultural Systems 90: 329–347. in Google Scholar

You, L., S. Wood, and U. Wood-Sichra (2009). Generating plausible crop distribution and performance maps for Sub-Saharan Africa using a spatially disaggregated data fusion and optimization approach. Agricultural Systems 99: 126–140. in Google Scholar

Zhang, X., F.W. Zwiers, G.C. Hegerl, F.H. Lambert, N.P. Gillett, S. Solomon, P.A. Stott, and T. Nozawa (2007). Detection of human influence on twentieth-century precipitation trends. Nature 448: 461–465. in Google Scholar

Received: 2013-02-19
Revised: 2013-07-19
Accepted: 2013-08-07
Published Online: 2013-08-13
Published in Print: 2013-12-01

© 2013 Eugene S. Takle et al., published by Sciendo

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Downloaded on 1.2.2023 from
Scroll Up Arrow