New analysis spells out risks of climate change on Midwest business

A page from the Risky Business Report's section on the Midwest, which highlights the effects of warming temperatures on the region.
A page from the Risky Business Report‘s section on the Midwest, which highlights the effects of warming temperatures on the region.

An extensive risk analysis report released Tuesday outlines what a warmer climate could mean for U.S. private and public sectors, with significant shifts in store for the Midwest.

The report was released by the Risky Business Project, an effort to apply risk assessment principles to climate change in the U.S. The project’s new report looks at the risks associated with rising temperatures and sea levels on business, infrastructure and agriculture in various regions of the country up to the year 2100.

For the Midwest, the report focuses on the region’s role as an important agricultural resource for the rest of the country. It assesses what rising temperatures could mean for the region’s commodity crops if the country continues at current carbon emission rates. Farmers would adapt, the report says, but agriculture would move north into Minnesota and Canada. Iowa would see a 10% decrease in crop yields over the next twenty years and a stunning 66% decrease by 2100.

The bipartisan project aims to convince corporations and businesses to view climate change as another business threat like any other, without going into detailed, highly-politicized solutions. Its Risk Committee includes former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Cargill CEO Gregory Page, three former U.S. Secretaries of the Treasury and various public and private officials.

For the compete report and for statements from the co-chairs of the project, visit

Iowa Pork Producers Association : Linn County hog farmers selected for national environmental award

Photo by WOAW – the world of animal welfare; Flickr

The Pork Checkoff’s Environmental Stewards subcommittee has selected an Iowa hog farming family as one of four U.S. winners of the 2013 Pork Industry Environmental Steward Award.

Russell Brothers, LLC, from Monticello joins the other award winners, as well as pork operations across the country, in their commitment to protecting natural resources while minimizing the environmental footprint. Continue reading

Soil Management, Crop Insurance, and The National Resources Defense Council

Photo by photofarmer; Flickr

According to a report recently released by the National Resources Defense Council, extreme conditions forced the government-supported Federal Crop Insurance Program to pay out a record $2 billion in 2012. The figure could have been sharply lower if proper crop management steps had been taken, the group claims.  Continue reading

Iowa Now in the Fracking Debate

Fracking is a largely debated issue, and protesting is common – Photo by billb1961; Flickr

Pattison Sand Co. of Iowa was sued by residents of Bridgeport, Wisconsin in an attempt to block a mine run by the company.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves the underground pumping of water, chemicals and a special, hard, round sand. That helps open rock layers so rigs can pump out the natural gas and oil. Continue reading

From Trash to Energy

Photo by Jeffery Beall; Flickr


Waste Management, a Houston company, will break ground this week on a $7 million methane gas recovery facility at Iowa’s biggest landfill in eastern Polk County.  Continue reading