The $346 billion U.S. animal agriculture industry is already paying the price for an unstable climate with more frequent and extreme weather events that are devastating to individual producers and influence costs throughout the entire industry, a University of Nebraska Lincoln animal environmental engineer says.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal Agriculture in a Changing Climate project has launched a website at www.animalagclimatechange.org to help.
"Climate change costs this industry money; we need to understand and plan to reduce those costs," said Rick Stowell, a UNL Extension animal environmental engineer and the lead project investigator for the project.
The website offers free, science-based educational resources and online training. Materials target all those working in animal agriculture that need to have a better understanding of the issues and consequences of climate change on the animal agriculture industry. It will be available through July 2016.
New data released in September indicate that atmospheric concentrations have risen faster than expected in 2013, Stowell said.
"Even small changes in climate affect us. Over the next 30 years, agriculture will have to feed an additional 2 billion people as well as adapt to a changing climate. We have to become more resilient and better prepared," he said.
Other universities involved include: Cornell University, University of Georgia, University of Minnesota, Texas A&M University, and Washington State University.
The USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture Program provide funding.