While in Paris Wednesday as part of the United Nations climate change talks, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack released two climate-related reports. One report, released by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, highlights the President Barack Obama administration’s progress on sustainable land use over the past six years, according to the Hagstrom Report. The second report, “Climate Change, Global Food Security, and the U.S. Food System,” identifies the effects of climate change on global food security through 2100.
Vilsack discussed the challenges that the United States has faced during his tenure, including the drought in the western states, and how USDA has addressed them. He says “we’ve seen increasing incursions of invasive pests and diseases and extreme weather, everything from bark beetle to severe droughts, which have cost billions in lost productivity.” Vilsack says world agriculture faces unprecedented challenges in the face of climate change. He said education of farmers and ranchers is the first step in dealing with climate change.