Climate Change and US Agriculture: Opportunities for Conservation to Reduce and Mitigate Emissions and to Support Adaptation to Rapid Change

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A rapidly changing climate can have profound consequences on agriculture and rural communities (Broecker 1975; Parry et al. 2007; Karl et al. 2009; National Research Council 2010; Hatfield et al. 2014; Melillo et al. 2014). Knowing how a changing climate will affect agricultural production and the quality of associated natural resources is essential to developing efficient and effective plans for resource allocation that minimize negative economic and sociological impacts (Hatfield et al. 2014). Although the rate and magnitude of climate change are not known with certainty, certain actions, especially those conducted on behalf of agricultural conservation, can serve to protect social welfare and the vitality of the environment. Because actions are undertaken today to address an uncertain future economic and environmental challenge, they constitute, in effect, insurance against the negative impacts of climate change.