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Perspective: I've Never Seen A Spring Like This

Dan Kenney
Unplanted field


“I’ve been farming 60 years and I’ve never seen anything like it.” A farmer said this to me recently. He was discussing the wet cold spring which prevented planting of corn at its normal time. 

When I was growing up on the farm, my father always said in order to have a good crop the corn should be knee high by the 4th of July. In the past decade the corn has usually been nearly shoulder high by the fourth. This year, however, most corn, if above ground, is only a few inches tall. 


Credit Dan Kenney
Corn is just coming up this late in the season in some flooded areas.

Thousands of acres in DeKalb County are not even planted and have not even been tilled. 


This unusual weather has more people thinking about climate change. 

According to the International Panel on Climate Change, current warming trends could cut global crop yields 2-to-6% every decade going forward. This means millions of acres of farmland disappearing worldwide every ten years. At the same time, global population is increasing. Food prices could double by 2050. Conflicts over food resources could escalate. 

My father was born in 1908. He started farming with horses and did not have electricity. He forecasted weather by watching the sky. It was a time when the weather cycles had some normalcy. You could have wet spells and dry periods, but you could usually count on certain patterns continuing. 

Growing food under normal conditions is hard. To grow food in changing unpredictable conditions is much harder, and in some cases impossible. 

When you see a farmer be sure to offer a kind word. It is a frightening time to have your livelihood dependent upon a changing climate that is leading us down an unexplored path. 


I'm Dan Kenneyand that's my perspective.


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