USDA’s Climate Hubs: Providing Targeted Solutions to Modern Challenges
America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners face a complex and ever-changing threat in the form of a changing and shifting climate. The past three years alone have brought some of the most severe and devastating floods, droughts and fires our nation has experienced in recent history.
While no individual event can be linked to climate change, extreme weather conditions are increasingly impacting our farmers, ranchers and forest owners, to the detriment of their bottom lines, our food supply, and the future security of our farm economy.
We need a strategy that strengthens agriculture’s response to the impacts of a changing and shifting climate. Our farmers and ranchers need new and better tools to respond and prepare for the challenges of drought, heat stress, excessive moisture, longer growing seasons and changes in pest pressure.
USDA has answered the call from our nation’s producers and land managers and launched seven regionally-located Climate Hubs to act as repositories of data and offer the practical, science-based tools and strategies our producers need to adapt and succeed in the face of a changing climate.
Recognizing that regions face different climate challenges, the Hubs are housed in USDA facilities spread across the country. Each Hub will focus on developing research and solutions tailored to the specific vulnerabilities of its region, such as drought-tolerant seed varieties, strategies to maintain soil health, and ways to monitor and respond to fires and pest outbreaks.
We won’t work alone. Climate Hubs support President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to responsibly cut carbon pollution, slow the effects of climate change and put us on track to a cleaner environment. Through Climate Hubs, we will further strengthen our partnerships with a wide range of organizations working on climate issues, including the Department of Interior, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, land-grant universities, Native Nations and organizations, state departments of environment and agriculture, research centers, and farm groups.
In order to address climate change, we have to get ahead of it, and no one innovates in the face of challenge better than rural America. This will not be an easy task, but I am confident that working together, USDA and its partners can effectively manage the risks from a shifting climate and build a stronger, more secure future for our farm and forest resources.
Learn more by visiting the USDA Climate Solutions webpage.
Tom Vilsack is Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.