WASHINGTON, Feb. 5, 2024 – Today marks 10 years since the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created regional Climate Hubs, which were established to help support the agricultural producers and rural communities make climate-informed decisions. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is highlighting how these regional climate centers – bolstered by President Biden’s historic climate agenda – are helping farmers, ranchers, forest landowners and communities address the threats of climate change. The Climate Hubs are an important piece of USDA’s bold agenda to address climate change, complementing investments of $19.5 billion through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the largest-ever climate investment, to help agricultural producers adopt climate-smart practices, $1 billion to the Urban and Community Forestry Program to combat extreme heat and climate change, and $3.1 billion to expand markets for climate-smart commodities through the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities.
“When we announced the creation of the Regional Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change 10 years ago, our goal was to address the risks posed by intensifying climate change,” said Vilsack. “Today, as those risks are increasingly prevalent across the nation and the globe, the need for science-based, climate information and assistance is more important than ever. The Biden-Harris administration is committed to tackling the climate crisis and meeting the urgent and critical need for climate adaptation and mitigation, and USDA is continuing to support those efforts by guiding climate solutions for working lands.”
Originally, 10 regional locations were established across the United States. In May 2023, an International Climate Hub was added to share best practices and collaborate with international partners and improve the world’s ability to mitigate and adapt to climate.
Today, the Climate Hubs form a network of more than 120 climate researchers and communicators who work across the USDA and with partners to support climate-informed decisions. The Hubs are a collaboration of several USDA agencies, including the Agricultural Research Service, Forest Service, and Natural Resources Conservation Service, and act as force multipliers for USDA’s climate science and services extending the Department’s reach. The Hubs also coordinate with the U.S. Geological Survey and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which each have regional climate change organizations.
Supporting both the National Climate Resilience Framework and Federal Framework and Action Plan for Climate Services, the Climate Hubs:
- Embed climate resilience into planning and management by promoting a better understanding of climate change impacts. For example, many experts from the Climate Hubs contributed to the Fifth National Climate Assessment.
- Accelerate development of innovative science-based solutions. For example, to promote climate-informed reforestation, the Northwest Climate Hub supported the update and expansion of the Seedlot Selection Tool and developed training materials to help forest managers match seedlots with planting sites based on climate information.
- Equip communities with the information needed to deploy adaptation strategies. For example, the Southwest Climate Hub partnered with Indigenous farmers and ranchers to enhance agricultural adaptation to drought and climate change.
- Co-develop tools with farmers, ranchers and foresters to sustainably manage their lands and waters by understanding how to implement climate-informed and nature-based solutions. For example, the Soil Temperature Climatology Tool developed by the Midwest Climate Hub and partners helps farmers see how soil temperatures are changing, allowing them to better estimate planting times.
- Support USDA’s focus on equity and access to programs and President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, building safer, healthier, and stronger communities. For example, helping communities build resilience to extreme weather events and providing materials to help increase food security and support mental health. This work includes collaborations with Alaska Natives, Indigenous Peoples, Native Americans and Tribal Nations to develop and deliver region-specific information and technologies to support climate-informed decision-making.
Key projects the Climate Hubs will build upon include:
- The Northern Plains Climate Hub and outreach partners were awarded funds from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) for a project to strengthen climate resilience in agroecosystems on working lands in Native American communities.
- The Northern Forests, Northeast and Southeast Climate Hubs are collaborating with partners on the Forest Owner Carbon and Climate Education (FOCCE) program to educate forest owners and practitioners about forest carbon and climate-smart forestry.
- The Caribbean Climate Hub in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands continues to provide technical support in both English and Spanish for agricultural land and forest managers to respond to changes in weather extremes, pests, and growing seasons.
“Climate change affects natural and working lands differently in each region of the United States,” said Climate Hub National Lead Lynn Knight. “We utilize this regional approach to help farmers, ranchers and foresters understand those unique impacts. We co-create and share place-based tools and technology to support farmers, ranchers, forest landowners and communities as they adapt to climate change. This helps them maintain the lands’ productivity now and into the future. We continue to focus on applied science and synthesis, outreach and education, tools and technology to empower USDA and its stakeholders with information and resources to manage climate risks and impacts.”
For more information on the Climate Hubs’ mission and resources, please visit the USDA Climate Hubs website and learn what climate-focused information is available by region.
The Inflation Reduction Act, part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, provided $19.5 billion for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to adopt climate-smart activities. USDA’s work as a leader on using the best science, research and conservation tools is helping support implementation. Additionally, USDA is working with organizations to expand climate markets through its $3.1 billion through Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across USDA by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of the Nation. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
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