Pennsylvania is getting warmer and wetter. Last year, torrential rains drenched farm fields in the state over and over.
Egan: “It became very, very obvious, very sobering that climate change is already here.”
That’s Franklin Egan of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.
Egan: “We heard a lot of stories of just failed plantings, so crops going into the ground in late summer and then just being completely washed away by heavy rains – or sometimes after being established, just sitting there and failing to grow because of water-logged soils.”
Too much rain can also cause soil erosion and the spread of fungi that can harm crops.
Egan says farmers are trying to adapt – for example, by using greenhouses to shield plants from rain, and by planting cover crops.
Egan: “Soil that is covered year-round with cover cropping is able to absorb water or prevent erosion – and also builds a lot of organic matter, which helps soil to, again, absorb water and then meter it out in the dry spells that seem to be happening between these intense rains.”
Egan’s group shares information about ways to adapt.
Egan: “When farmers are thinking of new ways to solve these problems, the knowledge and the ideas tend to spread pretty quickly.”
Reporting credit: Ariel Hansen/ChavoBart Digital Media.