A report released today by Environment America claims that global warming could cost U.S. corn growers as much as $1.4 billion each year due to falling production.
Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska would be harmed the most under the report's scenario, with potential damages for the top 10 states averaging $116 million in yearly losses, Environment America said.
"Corn likes it cool, but global warming is raising temperatures across the nation," said Environment America advocate Timothy Telleen-Lawton. "Hotter fields will mean lower yields for corn, and eventually, the rest of agriculture."
Although some analysts have said crop yields would increase with higher average temperatures, Environment America said research shows that temperature changes consistent with global warming are already harming corn production worldwide.
U.S. farmers would stand to benefit from transitioning to a renewable energy economy, not only from the use of biofuels like ethanol, but through wind and solar installations on farm property, the group said.
"With clean energy such as wind and solar, agriculture has a huge opportunity to be part of the solution to global warming," said American Corn Growers Association president Keith Bolin.
The report, Hotter Fields, Lower Yields, draws on a 2008 study by the United States Climate Change Science Program, a joint project of the Department of Agriculture and 12 other federal agencies.