Watchdog; Watchdog Blog

Agriculture Department to study how climate change affects cows

|
News,Watchdog Blog,Environment,Departments,Agriculture,Climate Change,Animals

When the Government Accountability Office released its 2013 list of "high-risk areas," it was no surprise that climate change was listed at the top, as President Obama has been adamant about fighting climate change.

So it also came as no surprise that, despite the federal government's massive deficits and national debt, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $19.5 million recently to two institutions to study the effects of weather and climate change on cows.

The University of Wisconsin and Oklahoma State University received grants of $9.9 million and $9.6 million, respectively, to conduct research on problems caused by climate change for dairy and beef cattle, according to a USDA announcement last week.

The two universities will partner with scientists and researchers from other universities around the country.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who is also in charge of the White House Rural Council that Obama created by executive order in 2011, said, "we have seen the impact that variable climate patterns have had on production agriculture for the past several years."

In the press release, Vilsack said nothing about other variables affecting agricultural production.

"The project's ultimate goal is to increase the resiliency of dairy production systems, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions," says the official USDA announcement.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an agency mandated in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, gave the awards through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, which was established under the 2008 Farm Bill.

Vilsack has been known for giving such awards before. In 2011, he announced a $12.2 million grant to fund research projects in Florida for the improvement of the efficiency and cost-effectiveness biofuel and bioenergy crops. Another $30 million went to a "Biomass Research and Development Initiative." The successes of projects like these is difficult to determine. 

View article comments Leave a comment