Farmers don’t believe in climate change, but maybe that’s OK. - Slate Magazine
...as the National Farm Bureau's spokesman Mace Thornton puts it: "We're not convinced that the climate change we're seeing is anthropogenic in origin. We don't think the science is there to show that in a convincing way." (Given the basic physics of CO2 capturing heat that have been known for more than a century and the ever-larger amounts of CO2 put into the atmosphere by human activity, it’s not clear what “science” he’s holding out for.)
It's not just the Corn Belt: Farmers across the country remain skeptical about climate change. When asked about it, they tell me about Mount Pinatubo and weird weather in the 1980s, when many of today's most established farmers were getting their starts. But mostly I hear about cycles in the weather, like the El Niño–La Niña cycle that drives big changes in North American weather. Maybe it's because farmers are uniquely exposed to bad weather, whether too hot or too cold. Almost any type of weather hurts some crop; the cereals want more rain, but the sweet potatoes like it hot and dry.
...But an organic farmer in upstate New York who is the first in recent family history to work the land would say, "There is a scientific consensus that there is a change of climate even in light of the fluctuations that naturally occur."
The latter is my brother, Tim Biello, and part of why he got into farming in the first place was to do something hands-on about climate change. He wanted to farm with less fossil fuel and fertilizers by working with horses and to use locally available resources to provide food for his neighbors.
But the biggest change delivered by science to farming in the past century is the one my brother is working to reverse: the advent of fossil-fuel-powered machinery and fertilizer wrested from the air by chemistry.
...Maybe skepticism also flourishes because farmers tend to be more conservative, and denying climate change falls under the same political umbrella as, say, gun ownership.