Image collage of apple hanging from tree with frost

Near the small town of Galesville, Wisconsin, the state’s oldest apple orchard has been in business for more than a century.

This year, for the first time, Sacia Orchards invested in crop insurance. The reason? Climate change.

Kee: “No question about it. It’s the number one factor.”

VP of Operations, Scott Kee, says global warming threatens apple crops in several ways. For one thing, early warm springs can trick trees into blossoming before the cold weather is gone for good.

Kee: “Last year, 2016, we had the most devastating spring frost that we’ve ever had. We lost about 75 percent of our entire crop.”

And extreme rain events are growing more common. One day in July …

Kee: “We received twelve inches of rain, and received those 12 inches in a six to eight hour period.”

Flooded fields make orchard maintenance harder. Wet weather also promotes insects and fungus growth.

Crop insurance can help soften any financial blows. And orchard staff is working to adapt to the changing conditions by growing varieties that thrive in warmer weather. Kee says these steps will help ensure the quality of the orchard’s crops.

Kee: “We are known for producing the highest quality, most flavorful apple in Wisconsin.”

Reporting credit: Mark Knapp/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy.

Samantha Harrington, director of audience experience for Yale Climate Connections, is a journalist and graphic designer with a background in digital media and entrepreneurship. Sam is especially interested...