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Water and Climate Risks Facing U.S. Corn Production: How Companies and Investors Can Cultivate Sustainability

This report provides new data and interactive maps on the risks facing U.S. corn production, as well as detailed recommendations for how corn-buying companies and their investors can catalyze more sustainable agricultural practices that will reduce these risks, preserve and enhance yields, and protect precious water resources.

Recent extreme weather events such as the devastating Midwest drought of 2012 helped drive record corn prices ($8/bushel). This provided a taste of what is predicted to become the new normal in many parts of the Corn Belt thanks to climate change—a point powerfully reinforced by the latest National Climate Assessment.

Growing irrigation demand for corn production, alongside unchecked withdrawals of groundwater from stressed water sources—in particular, the High Plains aquifer that spans eight Great Plains states and California’s overextended Central Valley aquifer—create additional risks for the $65 billion a year corn industry, which has nearly doubled in size over the past two decades.

Given the scale of the challenges facing U.S. corn production and the key industries that depend on it, investors need to understand how companies in the grain processing, food, beverage, livestock, ethanol, grocery and restaurant sectors are addressing these risks in their supply chains.

This report provides new data and interactive maps on the risks facing U.S. corn production, as well as detailed recommendations for how corn-buying companies and their investors can catalyze more sustainable agricultural practices that will reduce these risks, preserve and enhance yields, and protect precious water resources.

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