Lengthy droughts, severe storms, epic floods and fires, and extreme temperatures have all wreaked havoc on the agricultural landscape in the past year, putting some ranchers and farmers out of business and causing price fluctuations in the food market. To help assess risk and deal with these threats, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack just announced a new system of climate hubs, which will open all across the US to gather and analyze the effects of climate change.

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Recent changes in the environment have left many of those who rely on agriculture for their livelihood reeling. Today, the fire season is 60 days longer than it was 3 decades ago, and drought has cost the US an additional $50 billion dollars from 2011 to 2013. “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 in a recent announcement. To deal with these challenges, Vilsack announced his intentions to create climate hubs last summer. Now Vilsack has announced the locations, along with more information, about these hubs.

The first seven hubs will be located in Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Colorado and New Mexico, with a few additional sub-hubs in California, Puerto Rico and Michigan. These hubs were chosen after a competitive process among USDA facilities. Once constructed, these hubs will be used to deliver “science-based knowledge and practical information to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners,” so that they can make better decisions when it comes to managing agriculture. Information will be gathered from a large network including the USDA, Universities, non-government organizations and other government agencies like the Department of the Interior.

President Obama assured the nation in his recent State of the Union address that addressing Climate Change is still a priority. These hubs are part of the greater effort to address climate change. “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,” said Vilsack.

Via Huffington Post

Images from USDA and Crane Station