Seven sites around the U.S. will now be home to regional climate hubs managed by federal agencies to address risk adaptation and mitigation to climate change, the USDA said Wednesday.
The Climate Hubs, USDA said, will address increasing risks such as fires, invasive pests, floods and droughts on a regional basis, "aiming to translate science and research into information to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners on ways to adapt and adjust their resource management"
The announcement is part of the President's Climate Action Plan to responsibly cut carbon pollution, slow the effects of climate change and put America on track to a cleaner environment.
"For generations, America's farmers, ranchers and forest landowners have innovated and adapted to challenges. Today, they face a new and more complex threat in the form of a changing and shifting climate, which impacts both our nation's forests and our farmers' bottom lines," said Vilsack. "USDA's Climate Hubs are part of our broad commitment to developing the next generation of climate solutions, so that our agricultural leaders have the modern technologies and tools they need to adapt and succeed in the face of a changing climate."
The Secretary first announced his intention to create the Hubs last summer.
USDA adds that the Hubs will also provide regional climate risk and vulnerability assessments and centers of climate forecast data and information.
The hubs aim to link efforts undertaken by universities, non-governmental organizations, federal agencies such as the Department of Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Native Nations and organizations; state departments of environment and agriculture, research centers, farm groups and more.
The Hubs were chosen through a competitive process among USDA facilities. In addition to the seven Hubs, USDA is designating three Subsidiary Hubs that will function within the Southeast, Midwest, and Southwest. The Sub Hubs will support the Hub within their region and focus on a narrow and unique set of issues relative to what will be going on in the rest of the Hub.
The Southwest Sub Hub, located in Davis, California, will focus on specialty crops and Southwest forests, the Southeast Sub Hub will address issues important to the Caribbean, and the Midwest Sub Hub will address climate change and Lake State forests.
The following locations have been selected to serve as their region's center of climate change information and outreach to mitigate risks to the agricultural sector:
• Midwest: National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Agricultural Research Service, Ames, Iowa; Sub-Hub in Houghton, Mich.
• Northeast: Northern Research Station, Forest Service, Durham, N.H.
• Southeast: Southern Research Station, Forest Service, Raleigh, N.C.; Sub-Hub in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
• Northern Plains: National Resources Center, Agricultural Research Service, Fort Collins, Colo.
• Southern Plains: Grazinglands Research Lab, Agricultural Research Service, El Reno, Okla.
• Pacific Northwest: Pacific Northwest Research Station, Forest Service, Corvallis, Ore.
• Southwest: Rangeland Management Unit/Jornada Experimental Range, Agricultural Research Service, Las Cruces, N.M.; Sub-hub in Davis, Calif.
"This is the next step in USDA's decades of work alongside farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to keep up production in the face of challenges," Vilsack said.
For more information, visit www.usda.gov/climatechange.