White House Looks to Harden Farm Country Against Climate Change

Dave Fendrich (in tractor) helps Bryant Hofer (in combine) harvest a field of corn on October 2, 2013 near Salem, South Dakota. During last year's drought Hofer averaged about 85 bushels of corn per acre. Although he has just started to harvest his fields, this year Bryants corn has averaged 180 bushels-per-acre. According to the Commerce Department, farm earnings nationwide were down 14.6% during the second quarter of the year. Many Midwest states, which are rebounding from last year's severe drought, reported some of the biggest drops. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
National Journal
Ben Geman
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Ben Geman
Feb. 5, 2014, 12:51 a.m.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is cre­at­ing sev­en re­gion­al or­gan­iz­a­tions—dubbed “cli­mate hubs”—de­signed to help farm­ers and rur­al areas ad­apt to drought, in­creased fire risks, and oth­er prob­lems linked to glob­al warm­ing.

Wed­nes­day’s an­nounce­ment of the Ag­ri­cul­ture De­part­ment-led hubs is part of the White House’s ef­forts to use ex­ec­ut­ive ac­tions to battle cli­mate change. The White House is pro­mot­ing the ini­ti­at­ive, and Ag­ri­cul­ture Sec­ret­ary Tom Vil­sack will tout the ef­fort at Wed­nes­day’s White House press brief­ing.

” ‘Cli­mate Hubs’ will ad­dress in­creas­ing risks such as fires, in­vas­ive pests, dev­ast­at­ing floods, and crip­pling 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,” an Ag­ri­cul­ture De­part­ment sum­mary states.

The “hubs” will be in Col­or­ado, Iowa, New Hamp­shire, New Mex­ico, North Car­o­lina, Ok­lahoma, and Ore­gon. And there will be “sub hubs” in Cali­for­nia, Michigan, and Pu­erto Rico.

The hubs are de­signed to provide in­form­a­tion to farm­ers, forest own­ers, and ranch­ers about ways to re­duce risks and help link them “cli­mate fore­cast data,” among oth­er ser­vices.

Ac­cord­ing to the sum­mary, they’re en­vi­sioned as a place that draws to­geth­er vari­ous strands of in­form­a­tion and ex­pert­ise.

“They will … link a broad net­work of part­ners par­ti­cip­at­ing in cli­mate-risk ad­apt­a­tion and mit­ig­a­tion, in­clud­ing uni­versit­ies; non­gov­ern­ment­al 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 Ag­ri­cul­ture De­part­ment said.

The chan­ging cli­mate is high-stakes busi­ness for farm­ers and the pub­lic they sup­port, of­fi­cials em­phas­ized. Fire sea­sons are much longer than they were 30 years ago, while drought cost the U.S. $50 bil­lion between 2011 and 2013, ac­cord­ing to the de­part­ment.

“If we are to be ef­fect­ive in man­aging the risks from a shift­ing cli­mate, we’ll need to en­sure that our man­agers in the field and our stake­hold­ers have the in­form­a­tion they need to suc­ceed,” Vil­sack said in a state­ment.

The an­nounce­ment fol­lows this week’s con­gres­sion­al ap­prov­al of the massive farm bill.

What We're Following See More »
AFRAID HE’S TAKING SUPPORT FROM CLINTON
Democrats Taking Aim at Gary Johnson
4 minutes ago
WHY WE CARE

"Democrats panicked by third-party candidates drawing support away from Hillary Clinton are ramping up their attacks against Gary Johnson and warning that a vote for a third party is a vote for Donald Trump. Liberal groups are passing around embarrassing videos of Johnson and running ads against him warning about his positions on issues like climate change that are important to young voters and independents."

Source:
RUSSIA DENIES
Dutch Investigators: MH17 Was Downed by Russian Launcher
7 minutes ago
THE LATEST

Russo-Western relations are getting thornier all the time. "Dutch-led criminal investigators said Wednesday they have solid evidence that a Malaysian jet was shot down by a Buk missile moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia. Wilbert Paulissen, head of the Central Crime Investigation department of the Dutch National Police, said communications intercepts showed that pro-Moscow rebels had called for deployment of the mobile surface-to-air weapon, and reported its arrival in rebel-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine." Russia, of course, is denying culpability.

Source:
FIRST DEMOCRAT ENDORSEMENT EVER
Arizona Republic Endorses Clinton
11 minutes ago
WHY WE CARE

In its roughly 125-year history, the Arizona Republic has never endorsed a Democratic candidate for president. Until now. "The 2016 Republican candidate is not conservative and he is not qualified," the editors write, as they throw their support to Hillary Clinton.

Source:
TO BE INCLUDED IN SEPARATE BILL
Deal on Flint Aid Likely to Avert Shutdown
15 minutes ago
WHY WE CARE

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have reached a deal which is likely to avert a government shutdown. The biggest impediment had been the GOP's refusal to include funding for Flint water system reconstruction in the continuing resolution, and this solution provides an alternative measure likely to appease both sides. The funding for Flint will be included in the Water Resources and Development Act as an amendment to the version passed by the House of Representatives, one which will be passed in the senate. It now appears likely that Congress will in fact be able to keep the government open.

Source:
GOP REFUSED VOTE ON FCC COMMISIONER
Reid Blocks Tech Bill Over “Broken Promise”
16 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Monday night's debate may have inspired some in Congress, as Senate Minority Leader has decided to take a stand of his own. Reid is declining to allow a vote on a "bipartisan bill that would bolster U.S. spectrum availability and the deployment of wireless broadband." Why? Because of a "broken promise" made a year ago by Republicans, who have refused to vote on confirmation for a Democratic commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission to a second term. Harry Reid then took it a step further, invoking another confirmation vote still outstanding, that of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

Source:
×