The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced additional steps it is taking to integrate climate change adaptation into its programs and operations. These efforts will help ensure taxpayer resources are invested wisely and that USDA services and operations remain effective under current and future climate conditions.
Under the updated USDA Policy Statement on Climate Change Adaptation (Departmental Regulation 1070-001), USDA recognizes that climate stressors have consequences for food production, yields of staple crops, forests and grasslands, and these, in turn, affect the economic wellbeing of individuals.
Climate change adaptation is a critical component of climate change and a complement to mitigation planning. Both are required to address the causes, consequences and potential benefits of climate change. USDA is taking a leadership role with climate adaptation planning to safeguard a resilient, healthy and prosperous nation in the face of changing climate.
Under the changes, USDA will integrate climate change adaptation planning, implementing actions, and performance metrics into USDA programs, policies and operations to minimize climate risks and exploit new opportunities that climate change may bring; analyze how climate change is likely to affect its ability to achieve its mission, operations and policy and program objectives; identify appropriate key performance measures to evaluate progress in climate change adaptation; participate in adaptation implementation as part of a broader commitment to developing the next generation of regional climate solutions through USDA Regional Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change; incorporate climate-resilient decision-making into international development programs and investments of relevant USDA agencies; and develop and maintain an adaptation plan for managing the challenges and consider potential climate change impacts when undertaking long-term exercise, setting priorities for scientific research and developing performance measures. The regulation can be found at usda.gov/oce/climate_change/adaptation.htm. For more information on USDA’s Climate Change activities visit usda.gov/oce/climate_change/index.htm.