West Virginia Research Identifies Food Production Opportunities in Climate Change

Jason Hubbart, director of Institute of Water Security and Science at West Virginia University, has published research showing that the growing season in West Virginia is getting longer. Hubbart found that, between 1900 and 2016, maximum temperatures in West Virginia trended downward, average minimum temperatures ascended, and annual precipitation increased. These changes have led to higher humidity that makes growing the state’s traditional crops more challenging. However, the changes have also opened opportunities for growing new types of crops, and for double-cropping within a single season. “Winter wheat and soy bean crops are just a couple of examples of future agricultural investment,” Hubbart said. “Those crops, and many broadleafs do well in short winters. Basil, specialty teas, specialty vegetables, those are plants that have had trouble growing here historically, but now, and in the future, they may fare better.”