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Apr 23, 2012

Climate Change May Shift U.S. Corn Belt North to Canada Border

U.S. corn belt depicted in dark green
Photo: USDA
On 22 April 2012 Nature Climate Change published an article by researchers at Stanford and Purdue universities concluding that climate change is likely to shift the U.S. corn belt north and this will have an impact on corn futures.  The article includes graphs demonstrating year-to-year swings in corn prices.  This study in price volatility is significant given the growing market for ethanol..

The article concluded that corn price volatility could far outweigh the volatility caused by changing oil prices or government energy policies.  To avoid these swings, farmers may have to shift their corn planting northward towards the U.S.-Canadian border.

The study was based on economic, climatic and agricultural data and computational models.  Even a 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit change in average temperatures makes changes.  Heat waves lead to "low-yield years and government-mandated corn sales to ethanol producers limit the market's ability to buffer against low-yield years."  This limits the commodity markets' ability to adjust.  
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About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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