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Texas study blames climate change for driving up food prices

 U.S. Drought Monitor
U.S. Drought Monitor

The price of food is on the rise, and one reason is climate change. A new report from the Texas Department of Agriculture points to a warming planet for harming farming and ranching.

In addition to climate change, food costs have also been negatively impacted by the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, higher fertilizer costs, and higher energy prices due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The report, titled “Texas Food Access Study,” explained that record droughts and record flooding are taking a toll on the state’s ability to grow food, and that’s increasing growing food insecurity in Texas.

Edwin Marty, the food policy manager for the City of Austin, said the impacts of climate change on food affordability were clear.

“The temperatures are hotter, colder, wetter and dryer. That seems like a contradiction but that’s the very essence of climate change that we’re seeing. This cycle is playing out unfortunately against agriculture in Texas,” Marty said.

The food access study, conducted with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, found that “climate instability” is worsening soil loss, water quality, droughts, fires, floods and other environmental disasters in the state.

“It is very difficult to produce fruits and vegetables and graze cattle in an environment that is both unpredictable and extreme,” it explained.

2022 was one of the driest years on record for Texas, and about half of the state was still in drought by the end of the year.

This resulted in crop failures and low yields for farmers. Ranchers were forced to cull their cattle.

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Copyright 2023 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit Texas Public Radio.

David Martin Davies is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience covering Texas, the border and Mexico.