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Published February 10, 2014, 09:56 AM

Centers help farms face climate change

President Barack Obama’s administration recently announced the formation of seven “climate hubs” to help farmers and rural communities adapt to extreme weather conditions and other effects of climate change.

By: Jeff Mason, Reuters

President Barack Obama’s administration recently announced the formation of seven “climate hubs” to help farmers and rural communities adapt to extreme weather conditions and other effects of climate change.

The hubs will act as information centers and aim to help farmers and ranchers handle risks, including fires, pests, floods and droughts, that are exacerbated by global warming.

The hubs will be located in Ames, Iowa, Durham, N.H., Raleigh, N.C., Fort Collins, Colo., El Reno, Okla., Corvallis, Ore., and Las Cruces, N.M., the official says.

Additional “sub hubs” will be set up in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, Davis, Calif., and Houghton, Mich.

The hubs are an example of executive actions Obama has promised to fight climate change.

The president has made the issue a top priority for 2014 and has the authority to take many measures that address it without congressional approval.

“For generations, America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners have innovated and adapted to challenges,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says.

“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,” he says.

Environmentalists want big economies such as the U.S. and China to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that scientists blame for heating the planet, but they have urged policy makers around the world to take action as well to help communities adapt to rising temperatures now.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the effects of climate change have led to a longer crop growing season in the Midwest, a fire season that is 60 days longer than it was three decades ago, and droughts that cost the U.S. $50 billion from 2011 to 2013.

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