US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change (2013) 18:713–730: DOI 10.1007/s11027-012-9384-4


This paper examines possible adaptations to climate change in terms of pasture and crop land use and stocking rate in the United States (U.S.). Using Agricultural Census and climate data in a statistical model, we find that as temperature and precipitation increases agricultural commodity producers respond by reducing crop land and increasing pasture land. In addition, cattle stocking rate decreases as the summer Temperature-humidity Index (THI) increases and summer precipitation decreases. Using the statistical model with climate data from four General Circulation Models (GCMs), we project that land use shifts from cropping to grazing and the stocking rate declines, and these adaptations are more pronounced in the central and the southeast regions of the U.S. Controlling for other farm production variables, crop land decreases by 6 % and pasture land increases by 33 % from the baseline. Correspondingly, the associated economic impact due to adaptation is around −14 and 29 million dollars to crop producers and pasture producers by the end of this century, respectively. The national and regional results have implications for farm programs and subsidy policies.