'Entry point' on climate change
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a new resource for farmers and ranchers who are adapting their operations to climate change. USDA's recently created network of seven regional Climate Hubs now can be accessed online at www.climatehubs.oce.usda.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a new resource for farmers and
ranchers who are adapting their operations to climate change.
USDA's recently created network of seven regional Climate Hubs now can be accessed online at www.climatehubs.oce.usda.gov .
The site provides resources involving drought, fire, pests, diseases and climate variability. It also links users to USDA programs that help ag producers manage risks.
The site is "an entry point" for ag managers who want "science-based information" that will help them make decisions about changing climate, says Justin Derner, director of the Fort Collins, Colo.-based Northern Plains Hub, which consists of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.
Minnesota is in the Ames, Iowa-based Midwest Hub.
As climate changes, farmers face important decisions such as which crops and crop varieties to plant and how to manage grazing. The climate hubs can provide farmers and ranchers with information that will help them make those decisions, Derner says.
There's disagreement over the extent, if any, to which human activity contributes to climate change. USDA's climate hubs aren't involved in that debate, Derner says.
Each of the seven climate hubs is located at an Agricultural Research Service or Forest Service location. Those two USDA agencies, along with USDA's National Resource Conservation Service, provide leadership and technical support. Other USDA agencies, including the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Farm Service Agency, Rural Development and the Risk Management Agency, will provide further technical support.
"I think it's a tremendous opportunity for people to come to USDA for information," Derner says.
The climate hubs tap other experts and sources of information, too, he says.
Public and land grant universities, extension services, tribes, the private sector, nonprofits, state and local governments, the Natural Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Interior and regional climate change experts also are involved with the project, USDA says.
Farmers and others in ag often have land or other interests outside the regional hub in which they live. USDA recognizes that and will make it easy as possible for people with questions to utilize the network, Derner says.
Derner can be reached at Justin. Derner@ars.usda.gov or 307-772-2433, ext. 113.
Jerry Hatfield, director of the Midwest Hub, can be reached at Jerry.Hatfield@ars.usda.gov or 515-294-5723.