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Climate change may benefit prairie farmers

Last Updated Sep 30, 2016 at 3:44 pm MDT

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An economist studying global food supply says farmers on the Canadian Prairies are “literally” the only agricultural winners on the planet as a result of global warming.

Lutz Goedde, a partner with McKinsey and Co. in Denver, says rising temperatures and longer growing seasons mean that ever-increasing areas of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba will be able to switch to corn and soybeans from wheat and canola.

The new crops add to farm profitability, he said during a presentation at the Global Business Forum in Banff, Alta.

The benefits are already being seen in higher average prices for farmland.

Goedde says climate change is a net negative factor globally as it hurts food production, causes water shortages and enables the spread of diseases.

He says the world will need to produce 40 per cent to 50 per cent more food in the next 20 years to account for population growth and a growing taste for higher protein diets in emerging economies like China and India.