USDA chief: Climate change already hurting farmers

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, right, accompanied by White House press secretary Jay Carney, announces new climate zones to help farmers deal with climate change, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014,  during the daily news briefing at the White House in Washington. Aiming to help rural communities deal with climate change, the Obama administration is creating seven regional "climate hubs" that will serve as clearinghouses for information and outreach about extreme weather across the US.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, right, accompanied by White House press secretary Jay Carney, announces new climate zones to help farmers deal with climate change, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, during the daily news briefing at the White House in Washington. Aiming to help rural communities deal with climate change, the Obama administration is creating seven regional "climate hubs" that will serve as clearinghouses for information and outreach about extreme weather across the US. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he’s convinced the effects of climate change have already had a negative impact on agriculture and forestry in the U.S.

Vilsack is citing the intensity and frequency of recent storms, plus droughts, snowstorms and subzero weather. He says the nation must play an active role in preparing for climate change.

Vilsack spoke at the White House as the Obama administration announced it is creating seven regional hubs to help coordinate and distribute information about the effects of climate change.

The hubs will be based at Agriculture Department facilities. They’ll assess local climate risks, such as drought and wildfire, then develop plans for dealing with them.

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