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Posted Wed Jul 20 2011: from Reuters:
USDA chief economist: Factoring in climate effects too 'cumbersome' to be considered
"They are very elaborate models," said USDA's chief economist Joseph Glauber, referring to climate-crop forecasting in an interview on Tuesday on the sidelines of a farm lending conference at the Kansas City Federal Reserve. "Take into account all the fundamentals on crops and yields. You also have to build in all this climate variability and predictions about climate variability. The range of potential outcomes is pretty large," Glauber said. "We just don't consider that in our 10-year baseline. We assume some trend growth, we really don't even look at variabilities. That's probably proper for a 10-year forecast horizon." The USDA's crop reports, such as the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) and its 10-year baseline crop outlooks, are key benchmarks for the world food and farming industries, given the vast domestic and world data gathering the agency employs. "To take our crop forecasting models -- they are what they are -- and try to marry in a lot of climate stuff, it's pretty cumbersome," Glauber said.... "Climate doesn't make a difference much over 10 years. There is a lot more variability now relative to say 10, 15 years ago. But the real changes we are talking about here start manifesting themselves over 30, 40, 50 years," Glauber said. "World food needs will increase by 70 percent by 2050. By 2050, you can have climate issues," he added.
[Read more stories about: corporate farming, economic myopia, bad policy]

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