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USDA Sinks $60M Into Trio of Climate Change Studies

3 projects seek adaptable agriculture for specific regions
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2011 2:12 PM CDT
USDA Sinks $60M Into Trio of Climate Change Studies
In this March 10, 2011, photo Iowa State University researcher Lois Wright Morton, who is leading one of the projects, is seen in a lab at Iowa State in Ames, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The USDA is sinking $60 million into a trio of studies that will investigate how climate change affects crops and forests. The three studies will focus on specific crops in specific regions—Midwestern corn, Northwestern wheat, and pine forests in the South—and aim to help farmers and foresters continue to produce food and timber while trying to limit the impact of a changing environment, the AP reports. The country needs to steel itself for great weather-related changes, said an official.

Predictions say “areas that were at one time wet will in fact be dry and hot,” he noted. Crops must be “adaptable” to their areas. “If we don't do this, we may have some food shortages in certain kinds of foods,” he said. Researchers from more than 20 universities will work closely with farmers and foresters—some of whom question whether humans are behind climate change. But, says one researcher, "regardless of what one may think about the cause, there's certainly plenty of evidence that climates are changing and those changes can affect our production systems." (More USDA stories.)

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