Warmer winters will also mean more insects and more weeds as higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere spur more plant growth and vigor across a wide range of weeds.
Ernie Shea, who represented the organization 25x'25 on the NAAJ panel, said the organization is committed to making biofuels and other renewable energy sources supply 25% of the energy for America by the year 2525.
"It has been critical that we concentrate on reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses we are putting into the air," he said.
Lois Wright-Morton, a sociologist at Iowa State University, said the biggest challenge of all may come in the realm of communications.
"It is absolutely essential to get the message to farmers and ranchers that climate change is real and picking up speed," she said. "We need to help them get sound scientific advice about how to adapt to the consequences. We need to educate ag and forestry leaders on impacts and mobilize producers to advocate for taking action to adapt to change and mitigate the damage."
She acknowledged that farmers have already make adaptations to the changing climate with moving to more no-till farming, more cover crops for plant diversity and soil health and changing cropping practices to grow more drought tolerant crops.
"All of these have helped," she said. But she agreed with Shea that the pace of change, which appears to be accelerating, could make it harder and harder for farmers to have time to adapt.
"We are going to see the need for better water management systems to help take advantage of extreme rainfall events to store water for future drought," she said. "We will need the contribution of better genetics, better risk management, better infrastructure to handle extreme events including flooding and heat waves and finally improved long-range forecasting to help farmers to be prepared for extreme events."