Climate Change or Not, USDA Says Ag Has to Adapt

Farm Policy

2/19/2013 5:22 AM

Last week, a few days after President Barrack Obama called for work to address climate change in his State of the Union speech, USDA released a climate change video.

According to the video, two USDA reports say U.S. agriculture and forest management will have to adapt to climate change. It goes on to say that some of those efforts are already under way.

"It’s well documented that the climate is changing, that we are seeing changes in temperature and changes in precipitation patterns, and that those changes are having implications for forests and for agriculture," said William Hohenstein, USDA climate change program director.

The video says that climate change will have a “mixed-bag” impact on agriculture. For example, farmers can benefit from longer growing seasons, and animal and plant breeders will develop breeds more tolerant of extreme weather. In contrast, the challenge will be more weather disasters such as droughts and floods.

-- Charlene M. Shupp Espenshade, special sections editor

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