Ag Trends, Part II
The drought Down Under, now in its seventh consecutive year, is spurring some Australian officials to urge farmers to shift their sights from the parched southlands to the savannas and billabongs of the rain-soaked north. With climate change, scientists are predicting things will go from bad to worse in the south, with the agrarian region getting 15 percent less precipitation. The northern frontier, meanwhile, is expected to get wetter. Many experts warn, however, that any northward shift would spell folly for a number of reasons: The northern rains are erratic, there's inadequate infrastructure, much of the land is of poor quality, and clearing would run up against parks and aboriginal lands. Given all these strikes against industrial agriculture, say critics, better to leave the savanna intact to sop up carbon dioxide. Alas, there's no money in that. (And you can't eat it).