Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, announcing executive actions to combat climate change, said Wednesday that extreme weather was already harming farmers and livestock producers.
“The climate is changing and its going to have its impact,” Vilsack told reporters, saying, “there are ramifications today.”
“If we are not proactive, we will find ourselves five, 10, 15 years down the road wishing we had done what we did today,” he added.
The administration Wednesday unveiled the creation of regional “climate hubs,” which are designed to give agriculture workers more resources to address climate change.
Vilsack said the centers would be funded through additional Department of Agriculture research funding but did not provide specific figures.
The agriculture secretary pointed to both extreme heat and wintery conditions as symptoms of climate change.
“Some of the livestock producers in the Dakotas, for example, couldn’t make it,” he said pointing to frigid Northern temperatures.
The president has called climate change a centerpiece of his executive agenda, bypassing Congress to develop stricter regulations on carbon emissions from power plants. Such action stoked GOP charges of executive overreach, a theme conservatives have picked up again in the wake of a series of new directives from the White House.
The hubs will be located in Ames, Iowa; Durham, N.H.; Raleigh, N.C.; Fort Collins, Colo.; El Reno, Okla.; Corvallis, Ore.; and Las Cruces, N.M.
Obama is turning his attention to the agriculture sector in the wake of Congress passing a long-term farm bill this week. The president will travel to Michigan State University to promote the legislation on Friday.