The Roundup -

Montana Farmers Union Announces Climate Change Resource & Educational Program

 


GREAT FALLS, MT (June 3, 2015) – Montana Farmers Union today announced a new online information portal with resources on global climate change and its expected impacts to Montana agriculture. The webpage went live today and can be accessed through a Climate Change graphic link on MFU’s homepage (www.montanafarmersunion.com).

“As Montana Farmers Union celebrates 100 years advocating for family farms, we thought it made good sense to take a look at a serious challenge that faces Montana’s agricultural producers,” said MFU President Alan Merrill. “Climate change can be a difficult topic, but it’s a conversation we must have if we want Montana family farms and ranches to thrive for another 100 years.”

Montana’s 28,000 farms and ranches cover more than 61 million acres, employ 31,000 people and generate more than $4 billion a year. Our farmers and ranchers provide safe, healthy and abundant food to families right here in Montana and around the world.

Since 1900, the average temperature in Montana has risen 2.4oF. And research, some of which is done right here in Montana, shows that producers will have to prepare for a number of challenges as the impacts of climate change are felt, including reduced water availability in mid-late summer, increased pressure from weeds and pests, a reduction in the yield and quality of grains, and more occurrences of severe weather and drought.

Dr. Fabian Menalled, a professor in MSU’s Dept. of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, is studying how climate change could impact Montana’s grain producers, including how increased temperatures and higher carbon dioxide concentrations affect the growth of cheatgrass. “Many pests and weeds do better in warmer, dryer conditions,” he said. “And that puts increased pressure on crops like wheat and barley. We’re not done researching how climate change impacts food production: we’re really just beginning to understand the breadth of the issue.”

Along with the website, Montana Farmers Union will also host periodic educational events and discussions. Earlier this month, MFU also joined other organizations and businesses in the Montanan’s for Good Jobs & Clean Air coalition (www.goodjobscleanair), which supports the efforts of Governor Bullock to find a “Montana Solution” to reducing carbon pollution. “This is just the start of the conversation,” said Merrill. “We’ll keep looking at this and talking about it, and as new information becomes available we’ll update the website and work to get the information into the hands of farmers and ranchers so they can decide what’s best for their operation.”

The Montana Farmers Union is a statewide, grassroots organization celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Through those years MFU has worked for strong family farms and ranches, has advocated for the members’ policies at the state and federal level, has worked to support strong producer cooperatives, and has provided education for all ages.

 

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