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USDA Reports On Climate Change

Kealey Bultena file photo
Corn stalks topple in 2012's drought

The United States Department of Agriculture has published two comprehensive reports on what the changing climate means for the future of the nation’s forests and agriculture.

The reports are peer reviewed and include input from over 40 scientists each. 

They show climate change will pose increasing challenges to farmers, ranchers, and foresters in the coming years. 

In a nutshell the two reports say places like South Dakota can expect more extremes.   That means longer droughts, bigger floods, more pine beetles, and more wildfire.   Bill Hohenstein, is the Director of USDA’s Climate Change Program Office. He says public leaders and land managers should pay close attention to the science as they plot a way forward.

“I look it as climate change is a risk and land managers mange risks all the time.  And, so understanding how risks are likely to change with climate change is quite important with planning weather that be on the forest side or the agricultural side,” says Hohenstein.

Hohenstein says the wild swings in weather are expected to continue - this increases the uncertainty for everyone in the ag and forest industries.  He says the USDA is far beyond the question of whether climate change is real or not and now focusing on what can be done to deal with it.

You can find links to the reports here.