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A new Joe Biden campaign ad highlighting how climate change is affecting local farmers aired in Michigan last week, as the campaign continues its fight to win over rural voters in the Midwest battleground state.
The ad features a local Michigan fruit farmer, John King, discussing his concerns over the impacts climate change is having on his farm. “We need leadership to address the problems we’re facing every day so that we can continue to produce food for Americans and the whole world,” he said in the ad.
President Donald Trump won Michigan in 2016 by a narrow margin of 10,704 votes, marking the first win for a Republican presidential candidate in the state since 1988, but Biden’s climate change push in Michigan looks to be capitalizing on an issue for which the Trump campaign has shown little concern. It is not mentioned in the president’s second-term agenda.
But Michigan farmers statewide are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. A 2019 survey conducted by RABA Research found 63% of Michigan voters believed climate change was affecting agriculture in their area. Because of these concerns and the cultural importance of Michigan’s fruit orchards, experts say the ad’s message could resonate across the state, even in those counties that went for Trump in 2016.
Watch the Biden ad below
King is the co-owner of King Orchards, a fruit orchard located in northern Michigan that specializes in tart cherries, an iconic Michigan fruit. He says he has seen firsthand how the changing climate impacts his crop. Violent storms, heavy rains, and extreme hail are all threats that King said have increased in frequency in recent years, followed by big weather swings in the spring months.
“We can have very warm, unseasonable weather in March, and then have seasonal cold weather in April that freezes the buds that have started to grow prematurely,” King told Insider.
In 2012, a notoriously bad year for Michigan fruit farmers, temperatures in March reached the 80s and stayed there for a couple weeks. At a time when King would typically still be ice fishing, the trees were starting to bloom and leaf out. When the normal temperatures returned in April and May, all the fresh foliage and new blooms froze off.
King, who is 70, said it was the second complete wipeout of his crop in the past 20 years. And while these events aren’t unprecedented, he said they’ve become more frequent and more severe.
‘That’s what climate change is’
Those observations are supported by research, according to Nikki Rothwell, an extension specialist at the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center.
She said extreme weather is becoming increasingly common, noting there have been more significant hail events in the past five years than there were in the previous 10.
“That’s what climate change is,” she said. “It’s not exactly a quick change, it’s really that variability.”
Bacterial disease and insects are other threats that have been exacerbated by the warmer and wetter climate in Michigan. But whether or not growers themselves directly attribute those issues to …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Politics