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Serving: IN
flooded cornfield
REAL CHANGE: Indiana weather records point to real climate change in Indiana. Springs tend to be wetter, with more frequent big rains. What’s behind the change is less clear.

Reader shares opinion about climate change, agriculture

Climate Watch: Let's continue the conversation about climate change and its possible impacts.

Indiana Prairie Farmer recently asked if it would be worthwhile to continue a conversation about climate change. Several of you told either Dave Nanda or me that it would be helpful. Nanda writes the Corn Illustrated and Breeder’s Journal columns and believes climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions. I believe the climate is changing but am still on the fence as to why. I’m more concerned about how growers might adapt to those changes.

So, here’s the first edition of Climate Watch. These thoughts are submitted by a reader in response to articles on the Indiana Prairie Farmer website and in the magazine. If you’re not checking the website regularly, visit IndianaPrairieFarmer.com. Many articles that appear online aren’t printed in the magazine due to space limitations.

Reader opinion

Thomas Sherer, Indianapolis, offers this response. He’s retired from a career in arts and technology, working as a programmer and systems analyst, sometimes for large produce operations. He has a farm in Shelby County.

Tom, 

I’m with Dave [on this]. But I’m glad you’re coming around to pragmatism.

While we humans are not solely responsible for global warming, we’ve injected it with steroids. 

Earth’s climate may still be readjusting from the Younger-Dryas Cold Event, and our earlier climate scientists were just overly anxious to declare the end of its Little Ice Age to be 1850. 

Or we humans, through all our soot, dust and other emissions, have piled on, thus continuing the warming.

At least 10, if not 15 to 20 years ago, USDA forecast that the Ohio Valley would become America’s new Napa-Sonoma before 2050. As I recall, they forecast this to happen by 2030 or 2040. They do not forecast such things frivolously. Their forecast is consistent with other weather services worldwide.

To convince yourself further, take an extended trip this May out of Indiana — the planting will occur as always. Your absence will not adversely impact the crops. 

The trip I suggest is to Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska. Following the trail to the current face of the glacier, you’ll notice wooden signs with four-digit numbers engraved — without explanation. When I was there, I was slow on the uptake. 

It finally dawned on me that the four-digit numbers were year markers indicating where the face of the glacier was in that year. The first is before the Industrial Revolution. Just keep walking, and the gaps stretch out. When you reach the face, realize how far you have walked since our large population’s wood fires, and how far since the first steam engine in 1698.

Our black soot and societal dust have covered the surface of the earth, concentrating the sun’s heat. Our emissions are in the atmosphere containing the heat. On your way to Alaska or returning, I also recommend you drop by Glacier-less National Park. They are just about gone.

Very simply, we’re creating wasted byproducts of the resources. As we learned in school, wasted byproducts are wasted money. It’s very financially responsible to avoid waste — more so when it’s killing you.

Tell us what you think

Do you agree or disagree? Send us your opinion. Just keep your writing civilized! We will continue the conversation.

Email comments to tom.bechman@farmprogress.com or write to: Indiana Prairie Farmer, P.O. Box 247, Franklin, IN 46131.

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