Farmers in far more than half of the United States are now busily filling out forms for emergency drought relief. This year's corn crop is said to be particularly devastated, sending prices up some 30%. But it's not just America's bread basket that's being hit by early-stage climate change impacts. Central and Eastern Canada are likewise being hard hit by record temperatures and low rainfall.
“It’s devastating,” said Stan Szatrowski, a farmer in Simcoe, Ont. “It’s the worst it’s ever been. The yield will be half of what it normally should be.”
But Szatrowski added that as farmers like him feel the pain, so will consumers.
“Chances are prices will go up for the consumer, but there's nothing we can do about it,” he said. “With the price of fuel and the crop, that's just kind of the way it goes. We're not making any more money. We're losing money."
Evan Fraser, who studies the social impacts of agriculture at the University of Guelph, said the price of corn has already gone up about 30 per cent over the past few weeks.
“The weather of the next two weeks will be absolutely critical in determining how our corn farmers fare, in terms of this year’s harvest,” Fraser said.