Dr. Jerry Hatfield of the USDA-ARS lab in Ames, Iowa spoke at Old No. 1 as part of the Midwest Farm Energy Conference. (Photo: Marshall Hoffman)

As a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr. Jerry Hatfield won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. The research scientist and director of the USDA ARS lab in Ames, Iowa was the keynote speaker for the Midwest Farm Energy Conference in Morris, organized by the West Central Research and Outreach Center. Hatfield spoke to over 100 people at Old No. 1, and answered a question from KMRS about overcoming climate change deniers to get to a more sustainable farming future. He relayed a story of what he told a group of cattle ranchers, not a group known for being friendly to climate change policies.

“One of the things that’s changing under this changing climate regime that we have is that this rising CO2 level is actually decreasing the protein in that grass that’s out there,” said Hatfield. “Which in the long term means that you’re going to have less capacity to stock animals on that land. And they go, ‘This is a problem. We gotta solve this problem.’ So, sometimes it’s a matter of how it gets presented to the people that are not big fans of it.”

Hatfield also called for an increase in crop diversification to sustain soil health and lessen the effects of climate change.

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