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Climate Change is Intensifying Food Shocks

From rain-soaked fields in the Corn Belt to drowned livestock, food shocks—abrupt disruptions to food production—are becoming more common as a result of extreme weather.

The rain and floods that have plagued the Midwest since March have wreaked havoc on agriculture. In Nebraska alone, farmers lost an estimated $440 million of cattle. They’re still recovering from the blizzard–flood combination, as well as the sand left behind once the waters subsided—up to 10 feet deep in some areas. The effects weren’t limited to the region: Washed-out infrastructure meant that feed wasn’t making it to California farmers, causing an increase in local feed prices. The rain has also put many farmers far behind their planting schedules (see the #NoPlant19 hashtag on Twitter), which could further affect the ag market and rural economies.

On the other side of the globe, northern Queensland’s seven-year drought was broken by welcome rain—which quickly turned into epic flooding. Rainfall in the region measured 50 inches in 10 days, and with high winds and low temperatures.

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