WASHINGTON, Feb. 5, 2014— USDA “Climate Hubs” located in seven locations across the country will address weather risks and create resources for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today.
Vilsack said the “Regional Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change,” or “Climate Hubs,” will address increasing risks of fires, invasive pests, floods and droughts. The hubs are part of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which he mentioned in his State of the Union Address.
Vilsack said farmers and ranchers “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.”
A spokesperson for the USDA said existing resources will be used for the “Climate Hubs,” but partners and universities may also provide resources. Overall, USDA spends $120 million on climate change research.
“Climate Hub” partners include 90 universities as well as the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
As they begin work, each Hub will focus on a “regional impact and vulnerability” assessment. According to USDA, the primary areas of focus will then be to provide technical support to farmers, ranchers, and foresters; to improve regional forecasts of climate impacts; and to develop educational materials.
USDA also created three specialized Subsidiary Hubs, or “Sub Hubs," to work within the Southeast, Midwest, and Southwest. USDA’s new climate change centers are in the following locations:
Midwest: National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Agricultural Research Service, Ames, Iowa. A “Sub-Hub” is located in Houghton, Mich.
Northeast: Northern Research Station, Forest Service, Durham, N.H.
Southeast: Southern Research Station, Forest Service, Raleigh, N.C. A “Sub-Hub” is designated 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. A “Sub-Hub” is designated in Davis, Calif.
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