The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making significant investment to help support climate smart agricultural practices. A total of $9 million is being allocated to bolster new Cooperative Extension and USDA Climate Hubs partnerships. The investment is being made as part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). The University of California, Davis will be receiving $1.5 million as part of the USDA investment.
“The Cooperative Extension system and the USDA Climate Hubs have unmatched capacity to reach agricultural, Tribal and underserved communities, as well as educators and students, and our nation’s farmers directly,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This partnership will strengthen climate research efforts and accelerate the development, adoption and application of science-based, climate-smart practices that benefit everyone.”
UC Davis will be using the funding support to work with the USDA California Climate Hub in addressing several priorities. There are four main components that will be supported through the grant funding. Needs assessments will be conducted to better understand areas where agricultural stakeholders can further their knowledge of climate smart practices. The funding will also provide support for training for technical service providers to help spread awareness of climate smart agriculture. Needs assessments will be used to guide the development of regional workshops and help support the establishment of a climate-ready workforce. The overall goals of the UC Davis program are aligned with several Climate Hub priorities.
AFRI was established by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill and is the nation’s leading competitive grants program for agricultural sciences. The new AFRI program area is intended to provide scalable approaches for addressing issues of climate change. A core component of the program is cultivating regional partnerships, which include USDA Climate Hubs and the Cooperative Extension Service, to expand outreach activities. The California Climate Hub is one of 10 regional locations that serve as a unique collaboration across USDA agencies.