Vilsack Discusses Vision of Continued Agricultural Adaptation
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack took the time to discuss what he calls a complex environmental challenge American agriculture will face in the years and decades ahead at the National Press Club yesterday (Wednesday). America's food supply stands at the core of the nation's strength - according to Vilsack - who says American ag is tremendously productive - largely due to the innovation embraced by farmers and ranchers. He says productivity does more than impact the farmer's bottom line - also empowering America to lead the way in feeding a growing world population. This productivity has been achieved because American ag adapts to threats - Vilsack says - and is flexible and responsible when disaster strikes.
Risk management and adaptation starts on the farm - and Vilsack says farmers and ranchers are on the front lines of identifying threats and adapting to meet them. For more than a Century - he says farmers and ranchers have had USDA's help in fixing problems - and keeping ag strong and productive is a joint undertaking, a shared responsibility. He says the bottom line is that in the U.S. - an amazing amount of food is produced because of adaptation to threats and preparation for tomorrow's threats - including a changing and shifting climate. Vilsack says the latest science shows the threat of climate change is new and different from anything tackled before. USDA studies released earlier this year found in the short term - the U.S. has the means to manage threats - but he says there will be new and different problems over the next 50-years - including the need to adapt crop production and facing increased production costs.
These are all reasons why Vilsack says it's important to develop modern solutions to a changing climate by doubling down on collaboration between farmers, governments, researchers and industry. He says it's necessary to think outside the box, work together and pool resources to develop the next generation of climate solutions for agriculture. USDA is taking some new measures to better support America's adaptation to climate challenges - including regional climate hubs, NRCS tools for producers and cover crops. Vilsack says all of this work represents the first steps of an overarching focus on adaptation in the years ahead. He says America's long history of innovation must continue.
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