Giving Compass' Take:

• Mark Oprea explains that due to climate change, an increase in severe flooding in the Midwestern part of the United States is forcing farmers to make difficult decisions.

• How can donors help address climate change issues for farmers specifically?  

• Meet the farmers addressing climate change themselves. 

This year has been the wettest in American history, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, prompting farmers across the Midwest to delay planting as many as 20 million acres, another historic outcome of the persistent deluge. And this spring and summer, after months of abnormally heavy precipitation in the Midwest, the levee systems that line the Mississippi River started to breach.

Government rules and private insurance protocols suggest that continuing to farm in the levees’ shadows might be folly. Trouble is, doing so is still for many a matter of economic necessity. They have to farm.

And yet floods seem to be getting more severe and frequent, a fact highlighted by this year’s record-setting rains. Perhaps it’s for that reason that state-level emergency management agencies insist that existing levee infrastructure is not sufficient, despite the assurances of local commissioners. These agencies feel that anyone who farms in high-risk areas should pay for expensive flood insurance policies, to help absorb that risk and cover themselves in an era where the next major flood is only a season away.

But some farmers say that this mandate leaves them with an impossible choice: give up and pay prohibitively expensive insurance premiums, or pay the ultimate penalty and vacate the only land they’ve ever called home.

Read the full article about climate change impacts farmers by Mark Oprea at The New Food Economy.