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Minnesota Climate and Health Program


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Title: Minnesota Climate and Health Program

Agriculture Food Security Climate Change
Training Module
  • Minnesota Climate and Health Program
  • Minnesota Department of Health
  • Environmental Impacts Analysis Unit

625 Robert Street North PO Box 64975 St. Paul, MN
MDH developed this presentation based on
scientific research published in peer-reviewed
journals. References for information can be found
in the relevant slides and/or at the end of the
  • Food Security
  • Observed Climate Changes
  • Crop Production
  • Livestock Cattle, Dairy Animals, Swine Poultry
  • Culturally Important Foods
  • Other Issues
  • Adaptation Best Management Practices

  • Food Security
  • Food safety
  • Amount of food
  • all people at all times have both physical and
    economic access to access to sufficient, safe and
    nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active
  • - World Health Organization

Minnesota Agriculture
  • Economic impact of Minnesotas agriculture
  • 75 billion per year in agricultural
  • production and processing
  • Employment impact 342,000 jobs
  • Nationally, Minnesota is top 10 in more than
  • 20 agricultural products
  • 1 turkey, sugar beets
  • 2 hogs, sweet corn for processing, oats, wild
  • 3 soybeans, spring wheat, green peas for
    processing, dry edible beans
  • 4 corn, canola, flaxseed
  • 5 mink pelts
  • 6 dairy cows, red meat, hay, cheese, honey
  • 7 milk, potatoes, sunflowers
  • 9 cattle and calves
  • 10 lamb
  • If MN agriculture was disrupted, it could have a
    great impact on our economy and food security for
    the U.S. and internationally

(Source Ye, 2013)
Food Security and Health
  • Climate change could affect
  • Amount of food produced
  • Variety and nutritional value of food
  • Cost of food
  • Minnesotans consume food from a global market
    food security is impacted by climate change not
    just in Minnesota

(Source NCADAC, 2013)
  • Food Security
  • Observed Climate Changes
  • Crop Production
  • Livestock Cattle, Dairy Animals, Swine Poultry
  • Culturally Important Foods
  • Other Issues
  • Adaptation Best Management Practices

  • Weather conditions of the atmosphere over a
    short period of time
  • Climate conditions of the atmosphere over long
    periods of time (30- year standard averaging

(Source NASA, 2005)
Observed Climate Changes
  • There have been three recent significant observed
    climate trends in Minnesota
  • The average temperature is increasing
  • The average number of days with a high dew point
    may be increasing
  • The character of precipitation is changing

(Sources Seeley, 2012 Zandlo, 2008)
Temperature Changes in Minnesota
(Sources Western Regional Climate Center, 2011a
Seeley, 2012)
Temperature Changes in Minnesota
Significant observations in warming pattern
  • Winter temperatures have been rising about twice
    as fast as annual average temperatures
  • Minimum or overnight low temperatures have been
    rising faster than maximum or daytime high

(Source Zandlo, 2008)
Temperature Changes in Minnesota
Seasonal Temperature Trends (F per century)
Based on 1895-2010 Data
(Source Midwestern Regional Climate Center,
Dew Point Changes
  • Dew point a measure of water vapor in the air
  • A high dew point makes it more difficult for
    sweat to evaporate off the skin, which is one of
    the main mechanisms the body uses to cool itself
  • The number of days with high dew point
    temperatures ( 70F) may be increasing in

(Sources Horstmeyer, 2008 Seeley, 2012)
Dew Point Changes
Number of Days
(Sources Seeley, 2012 State Climatology Office,
Changes in Precipitation
(Source Western Regional Climate Center, 2011b)
Precipitation Changes in Minnesota
Seasonal Precipitation Trends (inches per
century) Based on 1895-2010 Data
SUMMER 0.8 in
SPRING 0.7 in
AUTUMN 1.2 in
(Source Midwestern Regional Climate Center,
Changes in Precipitation
  • Precipitation in Minnesota is changing
  • More localized, heavy precipitation events
  • Potential to cause both increased flooding and

(Sources Seeley, 2012 State Climatology
Office, 2012c)
  • Food Security
  • Observed Climate Changes
  • Crop Production
  • Livestock Cattle, Dairy Animals, Swine Poultry
  • Culturally Important Foods
  • Other Issues
  • Adaptation Best Management Practices

Crop production
Climate Change Impacts
  • Changing climatic conditions will impact
    Minnesota crop production in four primary ways
  • Long-term changes in average temperatures and
    precipitation patterns
  • Increase in pests and invasive species
  • Acute losses resulting from more frequent and
    intense weather extremes
  • Impacts of runoff, soil erosion and reduced
    infiltration from increased intensity of storm

(Source Walthall et al, 2012)
Complex System
  • Crop production relies on a balance of
    temperature and precipitation, soil composition,
    and atmospheric CO2

(Sources USDA Global Change Task Force, 2010
Walthall et al, 2012)
Longer Growing Season
Earlier spring thaw
2 weeks
Growing season
Growing season
  • Earlier Minnesota spring longer growing season
  • Midwest growing season lengthened by almost two
    weeks since 1950, due in large part to earlier
    timing of the last spring freeze  
  • Earlier pollination
  • Longer growing season may increase crop
  • Species distributions have shifted

(Sources NCADAC, 2013 CCSP, 2008)
Changing Plant Hardiness Zones
Climate change has not only brought Minnesota a
longer growing season but also changes in the
types of plants that will thrive here
(Source National Wildlife Federation, 2010)
Effects of Frost Days
  • Increase number of frost-free days and reduced
    winter chill hours
  • Many crops require minimum number of days near
    freezing to keep plants dormant during winter
  • In warmer winters crops bud or bloom earlier
  • Pro Longer growing season and potentially larger
  • Con Increased risk of damage from late spring
    frost (e.g., Minnesota apples and Michigan
    cherries in 2012)

(Sources NCADAC, 2013 Walthall et al, 2012
California Climate and Agricultural Network,
Pests, Diseases and Weeds
  • With warmer temperatures in Minnesota, pests,
    diseases and weeds may
  • Expand northward into climate-stressed areas
  • Survive warming winters better
  • Require increased use of pesticides and

(Sources Beddow, Pardey and Seeley, 2012
Walthall et al, 2012 NCADAC, 2013)
Warmer Summers
  • Warmer Minnesota summers and
  • Higher maximum temperatures may
  • Increase crop yields with some warming
  • Decrease crop yields with too much warming

(Sources Oxfam Issue Briefing, 2012 Walthall et
al, 2012 Seeley, 2008)
Warmer Nights Minimum Temps
  • Warmer Minnesota nights and higher minimum
    temperatures may
  • Stress some plants, taxing their ability to grow
    and resulting in lower yields
  • Cause some plants, such as tomatoes, to ripen
  • Disturb pollination and lower crop productivity
    and reduce quality

(Sources Walthall et al, 2012 Hanks, 2013
NCADAC, 2013)
Nutritional Value
  • Globally, the nutritional value of some foods may
    change due to
  • Elevated atmospheric CO2 (increased
    carbohydrates, decreased protein vitamins)
  • Changes in cultivated varieties (favor yield over
    nutrient content)

(Sources Davis, Epp and Riordan, 2004 Taub,
Miller and Allen, 2008 NCADAC, 2013)
Temperature Effects on Water Demand
  • Complex interactions of temperature and

Effects of Increased Evapotranspiration in Three
Inadequate Water
Existing Amounts of Precipitation
Increased Evapo-transpiration and Crop Water
Increased Temperature
Healthy Crop Growth
Increased Precipitation
Potentially Healthy Crop Growth
Increased CO2
(Sources Walthall et al, 2012 Reich, 2012
NCADAC, 2013)
Flood and Drought
  • Precipitation variability can cause drought
  • Localized, heavy storms can result in inadequate
    precipitation in some regions of the state
  • Impacts crop yields
  • Prolonged droughts can increase fire danger

2007 Declared Disasters X Drought X Flood
(Sources Seeley, 2012 CDC, U.S. EPA, NOAA and
AWWA, 2010 IDWG on Climate Change, 2008)
  • Crop Production Down in 2012 Due to Drought,
    USDA Reports

(Sources NOAA, 2012 USDA NASS, 2013)
Precipitation Effects Flooding
  • Increased precipitation in Minnesota has been
    driven by intensification of the heaviest
    rainfalls, resulting in
  • Flooded fields and damaged crops
  • Increased runoff and reduced infiltration of
    water for crop use
  • Increased soil erosion, leading to
  • Soil nutrient loss
  • Sediment contamination of nearby water bodies

Source Farm Industry News May 24, 2012
(Sources NCADAC, 2013 Walthall et al, 2012)
Runoff and Erosion
  • Runoff and erosion will be affected most by
  • High rainfall intensity
  • Soil quality
  • Low crop cover in spring and fall
  • Land use

Source MPR News photos of the week, June 15,
2012 (Photo courtesy of Pat Baskfield )
(Sources Nearing et al, 2005, Sinha and
Cherkauer, 2010)
  • Food Security
  • Observed Climate Changes
  • Crop Production
  • Livestock Cattle, Dairy Animals, Swine Poultry
  • Culturally Important Foods
  • Other Issues
  • Adaptation Best Management Practices

Livestock Cattle, Dairy Animals, Swine Poultry
Climate Change Impacts
  • Changing climatic conditions affect animal
    agriculture in four primary ways
  • Feed-grain production, availability, and price
  • Pastures and forage crop production and quality
  • Animal health, growth, and reproduction
  • Disease and pest distributions

(Source NCADAC, 2013)
Animal Health
  • Animal health is highly susceptible to
  • Heat stress negatively affects cattle, swine and
    poultry health
  • Warmer winters may reduce mortality but will
    likely be offset by greater mortality in hotter

(Source NCADAC, 2013)
Animal Growth Reproduction
  • Hotter temperatures may reduce productivity of
    livestock and dairy animals
  • Animals lose appetite, gain weight slower and
    take longer to get to market
  • Production decreases, including milk from dairy
    cattle and eggs from poultry
  • Reproduction decreases
    resulting in smaller herds

(Source CCSP, 2008)
Disease and Pest Distributions
  • Climate change may affect
  • Frequency, intensity, or distribution of animal
    diseases and pests
  • Livestocks resistance to infections and diseases

(Source Walthall, 2012)
  • Food Security
  • Observed Climate Changes
  • Crop Production
  • Livestock Cattle, Dairy Animals, Swine Poultry
  • Culturally Important Foods
  • Other Issues
  • Adaptation Best Management Practices

Culturally Important foods in Minnesota
Culturally Important Foods
  • Climate change will affect the availability and
    affordability of social and cultural foods
  • Mental health effects
  • Physical health effects
  • Shortages of culturally important foods for
    tribal community members in Minnesota
  • Natural wild Rice
  • Moose
  • Traditional, cold-water fish

(Sources IDWG on Climate Change, 2008 NCADAC,
Wild Rice
  • Greatest long-term threat to natural wild rice is
    climate change
  • Negative effects on wild rice
  • Hot dry conditions
  • Warmer winters
  • Warm, humid conditions
  • Severe weather
  • 2012 Northeast flood

Map of Wild Rice Locations Source MN DNR
(Sources DNR, 2008 Myers, 2012)
  • Moose are a critical component of the cultural
    identity northern Minnesota, cultural food source
  • Decline in Minnesota moose population
  • Causes of mortality are likely health- and
    stress-related factors
  • Warming climate is a contributing factor in high

Source MN DNR
(Sources DNR, 2011 DNR, 2013 Orrick, 2013
Fish Warmer Water
Conceptual diagram of climate warming effects on
Minnesota fish communities
  • In Minnesota, climate change is warming waters
  • Warming waters stress native fish populations and
    may favor invasive species

Sources IDWG on Climate Change, 2008 Peter
Jacobson, DNR Fisheries Research Supervisor
Fish Water Quality Impacts
  • Climate change may lower water levels
  • Which affects concentration of contaminants in
    the water, the concentration of toxic chemicals
    in fish and quantity of fish

Walleye, StarTribune, April 15, 2013
  • Warmer waters and rainfall intensity may be
    contributing to an increase in mercury
    concentrations in fish (27)

(Sources CDC, U.S. EPA, NOAA and AWWA, 2010
Monson, 2009)
  • Food Security
  • Observed Climate Changes
  • Crop Production
  • Livestock Cattle, Dairy Animals, Swine Poultry
  • Culturally Important Foods
  • Other Issues
  • Adaptation Best Management Practices

Other issues
Food Prices
  • Food prices may rise if
  • Production declines
  • Prices of inputs increase (such as,
    petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides)
  • Food insecurity increases with rising food prices

(IDWG on Climate Change, 2008 NCADAC, 2013)
Food System Delivery
  • Climate change impact on food system delivery
  • Damage to transport and distribution
    infrastructure from extreme weather events
  • Barging/shipping low water levels in Mississippi
    and Lake Superior

Image source Pete Markham
(Source IDWG on Climate Change, 2008)
Food Safety
  • Impacts of climate change on food safety
  • Increased need of climate control to prevent food
  • Increased runoff or flooding from livestock to
    nearby fields may cause crop contamination and
    damage to stored food

(Sources IDWG on Climate Change, 2008 Portier
et al, 2010)
  • Food Security
  • Observed Climate Changes
  • Crop Production
  • Livestock Cattle, Dairy Animals, Swine Poultry
  • Culturally Important Foods
  • Other Issues
  • Adaptation Best Management Practices

Adaptation Best management practices
Best Management Practices
Adapt to climate change
  • Adaptation is not new to agriculture
  • Adaptation practices will vary by location due to
    climatic, soil and topographic variability
  • Strategies may include
  • Biodiversity
  • Wetland restoration
  • Reduce soil erosion
  • Mitigate heat effects on livestock

(Source NCADAC, 2013)
  • Biodiversity increases resilience to changing
    environmental conditions and stresses
  • Increases potential to adapt to climate change
  • Agrobiodiversity includes
  • Harvested crops, livestock breeds, fish species,
    and wild plants and animals
  • Supportive species soil micro-biota, bees,
    earthworms, etc.
  • Supportive ecosystems0

(Source IDWG on Climate Change, 2008 FAO, 2013)
Wetland Buffer Management
  • Wetlands and buffers can help manage too much or
    too little precipitation
  • MN wetland restoration
  • 500,000 acres of wetlands and associated upland
    buffers restored (as of 2007)

Source MDA, 2007
Reduce Soil Erosion
  • Soil and nutrient erosion rates may increase with
    more intense rainfall events associated with
    climate change
  • Strategies
  • Conservation tillage
  • Crop residue management
  • Perennial crops and cover crops
  • Management of livestock grazing intensities
  • Strategies may also enhance water management
    during drought

Source Farmer D Blog, by Steven Bell on November
14, 2011
(Source Walthall et al, 2012)
Mitigate Heat Effects
  • Hot weather increases water consumption
  • Cattle increase their water consumption by 20-50
    when heat stressed
  • Alleviate heat stress in cattle, poultry and
  • Install cooling systems (evaporative cooling,
    air conditioning
  • or geothermal)
  • Increase air movement
  • Provide plenty of water
  • and shade
  • Manage diet for weather
  • (type of food and time
  • of day)

(Sources UC-Davis, UMN and WSU, 2012 UMN
Extension, 2012)
Promote Diverse Food Supply
  • Diverse food supply balance of food grown
    locally and regionally
  • Diversity of locally grown food insulates MN from
    climate change impacts in other states and
  • Minnesota Grown promotes local producers of
    specialty crops and livestock
  • http//www3.mda.state.mn.us/mngrown/

Source Minnesota Grown Pick of the Month
newsletter, January/February 2013
Local Public Health Actions
  • Increase food security through programs that
    support food education and health eating
  • Food education
  • Promote local food initiatives
  • Farm to School programs
  • Farmers markets
  • Accept SNAP and WIC at produce and farmers
  • Spotlight on SHIP
  • From 2009-2012 Statewide Health Improvement
    Program (SHIP) funds have funded local public
    health activities that support healthy eating and
    local farms. Achievements include
  • Farm to School programs in 440 schools, reaching
    235,00 students
  • 95 increase in the number of farmers markets
    across the state

SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program, formerly known as Food Stamps WIC
Women, Infants and Children Both programs are
supported by USDA
Local Public Health Actions
  • Reduce potential increases in foodborne illnesses
    due to changes in temperature and precipitation
  • Educate on proper food handling (e.g., washing
    fruits and vegetables)
  • Monitor MDH website for warnings on fish
    consumption http//www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh

  • This work was supported by cooperative agreement
    5UE1EH000738 from the
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Special thanks to the following people for their
contributions to the creation of this training
module Mark Abrahamson, Minnesota Department of
Agriculture Minden Buswell, University of
Minnesota Mary Hanks, Minnesota Department of
Agriculture Kevin Hennessy, Minnesota Department
of Agriculture Larry Jacobson, University of
Minnesota Kathy Kromroy, Minnesota Department of
Agriculture Ann Pierce, Minnesota Pollution
Control Agency David Schmidt, University of
Minnesota Joshua Stamper, Minnesota Department of
Agriculture Curt Zimmerman, Minnesota Department
of Agriculture Mark Zumwinkle, Minnesota
Department of Agriculture
Thank You
Contact the Minnesota Climate and Health
Program 651-201-4898 health.climatechange_at_state.m
n.us http//www.health.state.mn.us/divs/climatecha
August 26, 2013
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References (Un - Z)
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
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