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USDA report reveals climate events could jeopardize food supply

The National Climate Assessment report detailing the impact of climate change on rural communities in the United States concluded the nation’s agricultural, ranching and foresting communities are resilient, but will face challenges responding to and preparing for climate change risks.

Rural communities were the focus of the recent report. Tom Vilsack, United States secretary of agriculture, called the assessment an “unprecedented look” at the impacts of climate change and extreme weather to rural America.

“At USDA, we're working closely with our nation's farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to help them manage the negative impacts of climate change, reduce their energy costs, and grow the bioeconomy to create jobs in rural America,” Vilsack said.

The United States Department of Agriculture said farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in America are seeing an increase in risks to operations because of fires, invasive pests, droughts and flood. According to the department, longer growing seasons in the Midwest, along with a longer western fire season and threatened forests could jeopardize the nation’s food supply and may be costly for producers and rural economies.

Federal agencies are working with all government and agricultural partners to coordinate a response.

Specific steps the department is taking to address the impacts of climate change were detailed in a release Tuesday which included the creation of the department Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change that was established in February.

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