How shifts and unpredictability in weather patterns are impacting the US economy and agricultural sector
Many Americans consider their lifestyles impervious to the weather. Other than the decision to bring an umbrella to work, each day brings the same routine, rain or shine. However, this summer’s record-breaking drought made millions re-think that assumption. Weather patterns and events are transforming in fundamental ways due to global climate change. Though by itself it is not evidence of climate change, the corn belt’s worst drought in over half a century certainly reminds us how vulnerable our society remains to the forces of Mother Nature. With those forces poised to become fiercer and more unpredictable, the industries most impacted by the weather — food, agriculture, energy, and water — are bound to experience turbulence. In this report, we examine the tools, companies, resources, and public policies intended to “weather-proof” our existence and provide us with a consistent stream of essential goods and services in spite of weather extremes. After providing a brief background on the Farm Bill and the agricultural industry landscape, we analyze how they’ve responded to the current drought, along with previous disasters. The report also details the major industry players’ and related markets’ performance, as well as points out several relevant conservation initiatives and opportunities in sustainability. Our purpose is to highlight the profound effects of climate change on the American economy, help investors pinpoint alpha amid subsequent major industry/market fluctuations, and showcase the prospects for profitable water and agriculture-related environmental solutions.