Despite contributing just 9 percent of the greenhouse gases, agriculture tends to take the brunt of climate change criticism.
That’s what USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said this week as the keynote speaker at a Drake University forum on climate change, according to the Des Moines Register.
"Everyone assumes what's happening globally is happening nationally," he said. "Clearly, there are challenges globally in terms of agriculture and its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. That's not necessarily the case in the United States."
By comparison, farming contributes a smaller percentage than other industries. Transportation contributes 28 percent of the nation’s greenhouse emissions. Public utilities (32 percent) and other industries (20 percent) aren’t far behind.
Even so, Vilsack points that agriculture will still need to adapt to climate change.
“We all have to be aware of the fact the climate is changing, and the warmer temperatures will change the way in which we approach agriculture, and we need to be prepared for that change,” Vilsack told reporters.
According to Vilsack, the country is already confronting several environmental farm issues driven by climate change, including drought and shrinking water supplies.
"Our challenge is to educate farmers about the vulnerability of agriculture, when it comes to climate change. We've seen temperatures increase since 1970 accelerate at three times the rate prior,” he said. "So there are warning signs.”
The Quad City Times reports these changing temperatures will affect what farmers can grow and how those crops are grown.
Vilsack also announced the USDA has created seven climate hubs across the country to study the impact of climate change and what should be done to mitigate its negative effective. He also pointed to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture recent award of $6 million to 10 university to study the effects of climate change on agricultural production. Read more here.