A team at Oklahoma State University will have almost $10 million study the effect of increased climate variability on beef cattle in the Southern Great Plains and limiting agriculture’s impact on the environment.

An announcement Tuesday gives a team of scientists $9.6 million over a five-year period to “better understand vulnerability and resilience of Southern Great Plains beef in an environment of increased climate variability, dynamic land-use and fluctuating markets.”

The team is challenged with maintaining beef production in the region while testing strategies to limit the animals’ environmental impact. Technology plays an integral role in the research with younger students using GPS-enabled digital cameras and smartphones to collect field data. Community-based analysis of the data will be used to show the relationship between range-based beef production and climate change to the general public.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the research will find tools to measure and respond to the effects of climate change on beef production.

"Farmers and ranchers need sound, science-based information and solutions to help them make management decisions that will sustain their productivity and keep their operations economically viable."

The research team consists of 32 scientists from Oklahoma State, Kansas State University, University of Oklahoma, Tarleton State University, the Samuel R. Noble Foundation, and two ARS laboratories.