What Will Happen to Our Bread:
US Crop Suitability, Climate Change, and Government Farm Payouts
Maize, rye, soy, sugarcane, sunflower, summer wheat, winter wheat – these are just a few crops that
can go into our bread. They are some of 16 important crops worldwide that are crucial to the global
economy in terms of food security and biofuel.
Crop suitability is measured by the ability of the land to grow 16 crops, as mentioned above, that are the
most important globally. The study was conducted by a team at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact
Research in Germany.
In the crop suitability data provided by the study through the UN Biodiversity Lab, the data was broken
done into a state-by-state basis in the US. The raw spatial data was segregated on a state-wide basis and
averaged to obtain a crop suitability score (out of 100%), in the dashboard above. The projected average
crop suitability is also shown, on the right.
Here, we can see the crop suitability change for each state. Most states face a decrease in future crop
suitability, while New Mexico, Texas, Iowa, and Colorado notably face large increases in future crop
How closely does each state’s crop suitability match the U.S. Government farm payments? In 2021, the
data from the Economic Research Service of the USDA’s Farm Income and Wealth Statistics are graphed
on the bottom for each state.
The relationship between crop suitability and government investment is shown above.
Generally, there is a rough trend where average crop suitability matches the total amount of farm
payouts from the USDA in 2021. Texas, which seems to receive one of the highest government payouts
in 2021, does not have one of the highest crop suitability scores. However, as mentioned above, it is
projected to have the second highest increase in crop suitability. Another notable example is Iowa,
which has the highest crop suitability score of all the states and the highest amount of farm payouts. It is
also slated to have an increase in crop suitability.