Farming relocation is a concept that entails moving a country’s farmland to a central location. The goal is to maximize crop yield while minimizing humans’ negative environmental impact.

Affecting Climate Change Through Farmland Relocation: 6 Considerations

Martin Banks | Modded

Climate change is a significant issue of concern for societies worldwide. Its ramifications have been felt through rising ocean temperatures, widespread droughts and other extreme weather events. A general movement to combat climate change didn’t start until a few decades ago. 

One strategy some people want to try is farmland relocation. What is it, and will it help? Here’s more information about this approach some people say can turn back the clock by reversing the harmful effects of climate change.    


How Has Climate Change Impacted Farmland?

First, it’s essential to know how climate change has affected farmland worldwide. Agriculture is integral to feeding people, maintaining livestock and other animals, and supporting worldwide economies. In the United States, the agriculture and food industries constitute $750 billion of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). There are a lot of variables that affect crops, and small changes can have a significant impact.

Crops depend on the climate for their growth. Since 1880, Earth’s temperature has increased annually by 0.14 degrees Fahrenheit. However, that number has more than doubled because of human activity like industrialization. Since 1981, the planet has been warming at a rate of 0.32 degrees Fahrenheit annually. Some crops thrive from warmer temperatures but see adverse effects from insufficient water, soil moisture and nutrient levels.

One of the primary contributors to climate change has been carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The increased CO2 levels have affected plant growth worldwide. For example, an increased amount of CO2 has negatively affected soybeans and alfalfa crops by reducing their protein and nitrogen. The lowered quality adversely affects livestock that depends on these plants for food. One strategy to combat CO2’s harmful effects is to practice farming relocation.


What Is Farming Relocation?

Farming relocation is a concept that entails moving a country’s farmland to a central location. The goal is to maximize crop yield while minimizing humans’ negative environmental impact. 

For example, optimal farming relocation in the United States would move most of the cropland to the Midwest, from Chicago to the western end of Kansas and North Dakota down to Texas. In South America, most of the cropland would be on the east coast of Brazil and small spots in Argentina. 

The objective of farming relocation is to rebuild lands. Many of the croplands in existence have negatively affected the area's biodiversity. Farming relocation would abandon these regions and allow the crop fields to return to their natural state. Instead, most of a country’s crop production would occur in areas where the rain could feed the plants, reducing the need for irrigation canals and groundwater. People could allocate this resource elsewhere.


How Will It Impact Societies?

The idea of farming relocation is an excellent one. However, in practicality, there are limitations. One of the negatives is how it would impact societies worldwide. Farming relocation would displace many people from lands they have inhabited for centuries. Governments that want to try this strategy would have to relocate citizens. First, they’d have to get consent. Then, depending on laws, they would have to provide financial compensation.

There may need to be more than just awarding compensation for residents who face relocation. It would be a tremendous process that some people would struggle significantly with. Many communities worldwide are tight-knit, and their land is all they have ever known. Moving to a new area would be a physical and mental feat. Countries that try farming relocation should aim to do so without harming the social aspect of their citizens.


How Will It Impact Economies?

The social impact of farming relocation would be significant. Another factor experts contemplate is how this approach would affect global economies. Farming relocation poses challenges in some countries and their crops because they don’t have enough rainfall. Others would need to continue using irrigation and greenhouse methods to sustain production levels. Otherwise, they would fall short and cause supply chain issues.

Farming relocation is primarily an idea, but there are instances where people have implemented similar strategies. The Grain for Green program in China is an excellent example. The government aimed to restore 15 million hectares of farmland from 1999 until 2010. Grain for Green positively affected the 124 million people involved by reducing poverty and increasing household income in rural areas. 


What Will It Do for Biodiversity?

People have used land for farming for millennia. Many people in the United States and worldwide farm for their sustainability and as a hobby. Practicing self-sufficiency is a fruitful idea, but the amount of land required for human demands has grown significantly.

People took about 40% of the planet’s ice-free land and converted it for agricultural uses between 1700 and 2000. The demand for food and other goods has risen along with the human population, so agricultural land only increases. This expansion has adversely affected biodiversity worldwide. Large farms destroy natural habitats and chemicals in pesticides pollute the environment, leading to animals’ migration or extinction.

One goal of farming relocation is to restore biodiversity. One study found that only 25 plants combine for 77% of the world’s cropland. Relocation can cut biodiversity loss by 87% and water loss by 100%, considering no groundwater would be necessary for the crops in their new areas. Separating cropland from the land for wildlife will help restore biodiversity in places where animal populations have suffered.


What Can Agriculturists Do?

Farming relocation would need to happen on a broad scale. Governments worldwide require the consent of their people to participate. Any program should include generous compensation and assistance with moving and settling into a new area. Moving a farm is challenging, especially for farmers with animals. However, the result will be well worth the time.

First, farmers should consider how they’ll move their animals. Planning for livestock relocation can feel like a puzzle, so agriculturalists should use a trailer for cross-country transportation to assist with this. Research will help make an informed decision about the type of hauler required. For example, farmers with large animals like cows will need a heavy-duty trailer. 

While on the trip, farmers should have first-aid kits on hand in case something happens. A pregnant mammal could start giving birth, requiring human assistance. Ranchers should also have a housing plan ready at the new location to ease the transition for themselves and the animals. Farmers also need to have a feeding system for their animals. Many get their food from local mills, so it’s necessary to know where these locations are. 


Farming Relocation for the Future

The adverse effects of climate change are in plain sight for humans. Extreme weather like droughts, powerful hurricanes and rising ocean temperatures are already here. Time is limited to save the planet. Some say humans only have a decade left to prevent the worst from happening. 

Some experts say countries should try farming relocation. This approach would reduce CO2 emissions and water consumption and increase biodiversity. A similar strategy has worked in China, but implementing farming relocation worldwide could have significant positive and negative socioeconomic effects. It is something that requires careful consideration.

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AgriTechTomorrow

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