Just below the Arctic tundra, in the vast plains that blanket much of northern Russia, a once-unthinkable business is taking hold: soybean farming. It’s the result of years of rising global temperatures, which are thawing the permafrost and turning the land into fertile soil, and now Agronomist Gennady Bochkovsky is helping to take the crop to the next frontier, testing whether the beans can handle the upper areas of the Moscow region. So far, he says, the results are promising.
“Sprouts have emerged and they look beautiful,” said Bochkovsky, who worked with farming company TulamashAgro to replace peas with soybeans on 1,400 hectares (3,460 acres). Soybeans in Russia embody a trend that’s sweeping the globe: warming weather is pushing crops further toward the poles than they’ve ever grown before. In the U.S., North Dakota has transformed into a major corn grower, and the U.K. has seen a rapid expansion in wine grapes.
“You can see the climate is changing — there’s more warmth and the crops that didn’t grow here before can now be successful,” Bochkovsky said.