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A Closer Look At Crop Migration

Our Nov. 19 hour on the gradual northern greening of North America — and by extension, the world — focused heavily on the trek of a few key crops inching toward the Canadian border. In theory, that sounds pretty bizarre, but on paper, it straightens out.

USA Today offered up a couple of telling maps in a story on the issue from this September.

(Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture data / Janet Loehrke and Julie Snider, USA TODAY)

(Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture data / Janet Loehrke and Julie Snider, USA TODAY)

Compare the above map with the average acreage of corn harvested from 2008 to 2012, as seen below.

(Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture data / Janet Loehrke and Julie Snider)

(Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture data /
Janet Loehrke and Julie Snider, USA Today)

Corn harvests are slowly inching ever northward, changing the way much of the Midwestern corn belt region looks.

It’s possible to trace a similar path with soybean harvests. Below, soy bean harvests from 1963 to 1967.

(Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture data Janet Loehrke and Julie Snider, USA Today)

(Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture data
Janet Loehrke and Julie Snider, USA Today)

And below, the same harvests from 2008 to 2012.

(Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture data Janet Loehrke and Julie Snider, USA Today)

(Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture data
Janet Loehrke and Julie Snider, USA Today)

What do you make of the changing trajectory of major crop harvests? Is it all a part of climate change, or a normal part of the North American continent’s shifting crop yields? Leave us your thoughts below, or on Facebook, Tumblr and @OnPointRadio.

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