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Climate change is killing the farm belt. With a little help, farmers help fix it.

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Art Cullen is editor of the Storm Lake Times in northwest Iowa. He is author of the book “Storm Lake: Change, Resilience, and Hope in America’s Heartland.”

They call the storm a derecho, and it blasted through Tim Gannon’s central Iowa farm at 100 mph on Aug. 10, wrecking a machine shed and burying his equipment. Fourteen million acres of Iowa crops — about the size of West Virginia — were flattened. Nobody had ever seen anything like it.

The derecho followed a parched July. “It was like a blast furnace for two weeks,” Gannon said. “Then it didn’t rain from the derecho [until] Labor Day.”

This is our new normal. Climate change — both in Iowa and elsewhere — is making it harder for farmers to turn a profit. It could affect our ability to feed ourselves for generations. Gannon waits for his harvesting equipment to be repaired under skies casting a weird, pinkish-orange hue from West Coast wildfire smoke.

Gannon’s corn is bent and parched. He won’t know how badly he is hurt until after the harvest. Some neighbors had it worse. He hopes the farm will break even this year, thanks to crop insurance and government disaster assistance.

The Great Plains is in the early throes of prolonged drought.........

© Washington Post

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