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Scientists Say Climate Change Could Continue Affecting Michigan Crops

Posted: 8:25 PM Feb 13, 2013
Reporter: Anthony Sabella
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"We must do more to combat climate change."

Strong words spoken by President Obama during Tuesday's State of the Union. They were words Anne Woiwode was waiting to hear.

"We are glad to see President Obama pay attention to it," she said.

Woiwode, who is the director of the Michigan Sierra Club, says we are at a point where climate change needs to be taken seriously.

"What's happening overtime is the unpredictability of the weather is affecting many things we do," said Woiwode.

Those 'things' include farming.

At a conference in Ann Arbor, Tuesday, scientists, including State Climatologist Jeff Andresen, claimed the effects of climate change could make early thaws more frequent in Michigan.

If the thaws are followed by freezing temperatures, it could ruin crops. It's similar to what wiped out Michigan's apple and tart cherry crops, last year.

"We depend on a wide variety of agriculture and not being able to predict what's going to happen with weather, year-to-year, as a result of climate disruption, is going to be extremely hard on Michigan," said Woiwode.

But how will that affect farmers?

"When we're faced with long periods of drought, or we're faced with early frost, it is a difficult planning measure for our farmers," said Scott Piggott, Chief Operating Officer of Michigan Farm Bureau. "Can we handle too many of these in a row? No."

However, because of the unpredictable weather, Piggott says his farmers have to be ready to adapt.

"We just need to continue to manage for the conditions we have," he said.

If not, it could start affecting more than just crops.

"This is about the future, about the generations to come and their ability to thrive," said Woiwode.
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