From freak snowstorms that destroy fruit crops to unseasonable drought that withers corn, unpredictable weather is making agriculture an increasingly risky business.

Organic vegetables

Henderson: “There actually were clear weather patterns when I started farming back in the ’80s.”

That’s Elizabeth Henderson, an organic vegetable farmer near Rochester, New York. She says after the last frost in May, there used to be little rain until July, when she’d get thunderstorms. August and September would be dry again, and then there would be a wet fall.

Henderson: “But starting in about, I would say 2000, that pattern disappeared. So each season has been radically different from the season before. You never know what to expect.”

That complicates farming. For example, in some years there is no rain, and fields must be irrigated. Other years, it may rain so much those same fields have to be drained.

Henderson: “In order to deal with that you have to be incredibly nimble.”

So Henderson grows a variety of crops to ensure that regardless of the weather, some thrive. She also sells her vegetables to locals who pay a subscription fee for a portion of whatever she harvests.

Organic farming in face of ‘incredible’ uncertainties. Click To Tweet

But as the climate changes, Henderson says making a living from the land is riskier than ever.

Reporting credit: Rosie Simon/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Vegetables photo: Copyright protected.

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