White House to unveil ‘climate hubs’ to aid farmers across country

The Obama administration on Wednesday will announce the creation of seven "climate hubs" aimed at helping farmers mitigate the risk of catastrophic events, such as fires, droughts, floods and invasive pests, the White House said.

The hubs will provide information about ways producers can prepare for potential threats to their crops and livestock as parts of the country are experiencing increasing severe weather events and pest invasions, which scientists have tied to the affects of climate change. And they will coordinate resources through federal and state governments, universities and non-governmental agencies.

The announcement is part of President Obama's post-State of the Union push to build public support for his initiatives, including a series of executive actions aimed at advancing his agenda in areas where he has not gotten much cooperation from Congress.

Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, interviewed by Mary Jordan at the Washington Post conference center in June 2012. ( Photo by Jeffrey MacMillan )
Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, interviewed by Mary Jordan at the Washington Post conference center in June 2012. ( Photo by Jeffrey MacMillan)

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who announced the development of the hubs last year, is scheduled to unveil the seven locations during the White House briefing. Administration officials said the following sites were chosen through a competitive process:

Midwest: National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Agricultural Research Service, Ames, Iowa
o   Sub-Hub in Houghton, Mich.
·       Northeast: Northern Research Station, Forest Service, Durham, N.H.
·       Southeast: Southern Research Station, Forest Service, Raleigh, N.C.
o   Sub-Hub in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
·       Northern Plains: National Resources Center, Agricultural Research Service, Fort Collins, Colo.
·       Southern Plains: Grazinglands Research Lab, Agricultural Research Service, El Reno, Okla.
·       Pacific Northwest: Pacific Northwest Research Station, Forest Service, Corvallis, Ore.
·       Southwest: Rangeland Management Unit/Jornada Experimental Range, Agricultural Research Service, Las Cruces, N.M.
David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.

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