Although the American Farm Bureau is tied to conventional agriculture and its conservative base, the organization is worried about climate change, and it’s preparing for the future impact that global warming will have on farming. The surprising move was driven by concerns about snowpack in the western US, which stores water during the winter and then releases it slowly throughout the year. A warming climate means that water stored as snow could instead fall as rain—and that could lead to a serious water shortage during the dry summer season.
The American Farm Bureau believes that it is essential to start storing water now, in case snowpack doesn’t meet current needs. Right now, snowpack accounts for about 70 percent of water storage, so even a minor change in the amount of snowfall could have a big impact on farms. “As climate change comes, we have to adapt, and that means we’d better have lower-level capturing systems to be able to capture that water, because it’s going to come as rainfall, not snowpack,” said Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation.
The solution isn’t quite as progressive as one might hope. Rather than working to fight climate change, the Farm Bureau, which generally opposes any sort of regulation, is asking the government to help farmers by assisting them in building dams to help store water. While it isn’t ground-breaking, at least the Farm Bureau is acknowledging the reality of climate change.
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