Mont. farmers release reports, plan 'frank discussions' about warming's
 impactsPublished: Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Montana Farmers Union began releasing reports this week that highlight
how climate change is affecting agriculture in Big Sky country.

"We're just trying to educate people that it is here, and maybe if there is
something we can do about it, as people living on farms or people living in
cities, we should take a look at it," said Alan Merrill, president of the

For years, farming organizations have shied away from connecting increasing
bouts of extreme weather and drought to climate change, but Merrill said in
Montana the time has come to have some "frank discussions."

According to U.S. EPA data, since 1900, the average temperature in Montana
has increased 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Instead of touching on the political debate behind climate change, Merrill
said, he hopes to focus more locally on the ways climate change has
affected the individual farmer, many of whom keep daily records.

For example, he said in central Montana's grain belt, seeds are being sown
weeks earlier than they once were and the harvest is coming sooner for
crops like winter wheat.

The reports are based on research by Montana State University, and
community meetings are scheduled over the next few months to open up a
dialogue (Tom Lutey, *Billings Gazette*
June 7). *-- BP*

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