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Climate

Nation’s Wettest 12-Month Period on Record Slows Down 2019 Planting Season

The contiguous United States recently completed its wettest May to April period on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NOAA/NCEI). From May 2018 to April 2019, an average of 36.20 inches of precipitation fell across the Lower 48 states, 6.25 inches above the 20th century mean. In fact, it was the nation’s wettest 12-month period on record, regardless of which months are chosen.

Grass-Cast: A New Grassland Productivity Forecast for the Northern Great Plains

Every spring, ranchers face the same difficult challenge—trying to guess how much grass will be available for livestock to graze during the upcoming summer. In May, a new Grassland Productivity Forecast or “Grass-Cast” has published its first forecast to help producers in the northern Great Plains reduce this economically important source of uncertainty.

The U.S. Drought Monitor: A Resource for Farmers, Ranchers and Foresters

Even before the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s, agricultural producers have recognized the economic and emotional devastation that drought can cause. Recently, the focus has shifted from dealing with drought as an unexpected hazard, to more proactive planning for the inevitability of drought. One of the tools available to producers is the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), a weekly map of drought conditions produced jointly by the USDA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Hurricanes: Challenging People and Institutions to Sustain Services and Learn to Adapt

Last September when hurricanes Irma and Maria passed through the Caribbean they caused catastrophic damage to communities and infrastructure affecting homes, businesses, farms and forests across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In the aftermath of this devastation the two great challenges facing the relief effort are to help bring back basic services and to learn from our experiences so that we are more resilient to future extreme climatic events.

Introducing the New USDA Climate Hubs Web Portal

Since 2014, the ten USDA Climate Hubs have been helping farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, resource managers, and rural communities plan for and manage weather- and climate-related risks and vulnerabilities. A key element of that effort has been the distribution of information resources via the Climate Hubs web portal. Our national and regional webpages are important components of our program’s outreach and communications efforts, and complement our on-the-ground work to provide practical, pragmatic, and science-based approaches to address climate change impacts on working lands.

New Caribbean Climate Hub Video Teaches Kids About Agriculture

Sr. Sapo is a very popular figure among children in Puerto Rico and Latin America and he has a new healthy hobby, agriculture! The USDA Caribbean Climate Hub and the musical group Atención Atención Inc. partnered to produce a video focusing on how food is grown and its relationship with nature.

Too Hot for Coffee! Warming Temperatures in Puerto Rico Present a Challenge to Coffee Growers

Climate projections indicate Puerto Rico may be warmer and drier, likely impacting one of the Island's most iconic crops. This could result in less-favorable growing conditions in the coming decades for coffee. A new study by the USDA Caribbean Climate Hub shows that if greenhouse gas emissions and temperatures continue to increase, we may see a reduction in lands with highly-suitable conditions for coffee. Climate adaptation practices and research can help growers respond to new conditions and keep Puerto Rican coffee growing and flowing.

Reforestation Tool to Help Determine Where to Plant Tree Seedlings

After timber harvest or a forest fire, reforestation is essential for a productive working landscape and healthy ecosystem. When replanting you need to decide where you will get tree seeds or seedlings. To help you and other forest land managers, reforestation scientists at the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, Oregon State University, and the Conservation Biology Institute developed a web-based mapping application, the Seedlot Selection Tool.

Climate Hubs and 4-H: Partnering with Tomorrow's Leaders to Sustain Agriculture Today

Agriculture in the United States faces significant challenges in the years ahead, perhaps none greater than the projection of approximately 9 billion people worldwide to feed by mid-century. Meeting this challenge will require an estimated increase in agricultural production of more than 70%. This increase that will need to occur over an ever-declining land base and one that will necessitate a paradigm shift in agricultural equivalent to that of the green revolution.