Climate Change and the Sustainability of Deciduous Fruit and Nuts in the Southern States

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2022: $16,500.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2024
Grant Recipient: Virginia Tech
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. Wei Zhang
Virginia Tech


Not commodity specific


  • Crop Production: climate change adaptation, machine learning technology
  • Farm Business Management: decision-making

    Proposal abstract:

    This project aims to evaluate how climate change affects the sustainability of perennial crop production in the Southern U.S. The value of deciduous fruit and nut production in the southern states is about two billion dollars every year, about 8.5% of the value of crop production in 2020. Given the long lifespan of deciduous fruit and nuts, it is essential to have long-term plans for adapting to climate change. Climate changes of the next couple of decades will be vital for crops already on the land now and for those cultivated in the next few years. With county-level crop production and climate data, I will estimate the responses of yield and acreage to climate variables by machine learning methods and then simulate the expected production loss or gain from climate change. The findings of this project will inform policymakers and practitioners of the potential benefits of adaptive decisions for deciduous crop production in the Southern states to climate change.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective 1: Estimate the responses of perennial crops, both yields and acreages, to climate change using historical crop and climate data

    Objective 2: Simulate the impacts of changing climate on these perennial crops in the middle and end of the century using projected climate data.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.