December 16, 2015
We're being warned of future grain failures—not by the dreams of a biblical Pharaoh, but by modern computer model predictions. Climate science forecasts rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and episodes of increasingly extreme weather, which will harm crop yields at a time when the world's growing population can ill afford declines, especially in its most productive areas, such as the US Midwest. In order to adequately prepare, we call for the establishment of a new field research network across the US Midwest to fully integrate all methods for improving cropping systems and leveraging big data (agronomic, economic, environmental, and genomic) to facilitate adaptation and mitigation. Such a network, placed in one of the most important grain-producing areas in the world, would provide the set of experimental facilities, linked to farm settings, needed to explore and test the adaptation and mitigation strategies that already are needed globally.