Iowa among states targeted for ‘climate hubs’

(CNN) — The Obama administration plans to announce Wednesday the creation of seven “climate hubs” to provide information to rural communities facing extreme weather conditions.

The hubs by the U .S. Department of Agriculture will provide scientific knowledge to help farmers, ranchers and landowners battle risks associated with climate change, including drought, floods, pests and fires.

“For generations, America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners have innovated and adapted to challenges,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.

However, he said, rural communities face more complex challenges today because of 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,” Vilsack said.

The hubs will be in Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and New Mexico.

Additional sub-hubs will be set up in various other states, including Michigan and California.

Climate hubs will focus on regional issues, and will equip local communities with knowledge to help them adapt.

“Sub hubs will support the hub within their region and focus on a narrow and unique set of issues relative to what will be going on in the rest of the hub,” the White House said in a statement.

Rural communities have been especially hit by climate change.

In the Midwest, for example, the fire season is 60 days longer than it was three decades ago, the statement said.

In addition to affecting food supply and rural economies, climate change comes with a hefty price tag.

“Drought alone was estimated to cost the U.S. $50 billion from 2011 to 2013. Such risks have implications not only for agricultural producers, but for all Americans,” the statement said.

The hubs are part of a broader commitment by President Barack Obama to make climate change a priority.

Vilsack will introduce the hubs at the White House on Wednesday.

Iowa’s hub is planned for Ames.  Get more information on the USDA website – click here. 

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