USDA's integral role in the Fifth National Climate Assessment

USAgNet - 11/20/2023

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced its substantial involvement in the Fifth U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA5), underlining a deep commitment to tackling climate change impacts. Tom Vilsack emphasized the frontline position of farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners in this battle, with the USDA dedicated to supporting these communities, particularly those disproportionately affected.

The NCA5, a congressionally mandated report released on November 14, 2023, examines climate change's impacts across various sectors and regions of the U.S. economy. This report, a collaborative effort of 14 federal agencies including 58 USDA scientists, provides critical analysis but stops short of prescribing specific policies.

USDA’s input highlights how climate change affects agriculture, forests, food systems, and historically underserved communities. The NCA5 stresses the growing need for adaptation to build resilience and the significant role of the land sector in mitigating greenhouse gases. It presents real-world examples of how land managers are altering their practices in response to climate shifts.

The assessment underscores that climate change's impacts are nationwide, affecting productivity, trade infrastructure, and livelihoods. This encompasses everyone from U.S. consumers reliant on global food and forest-product supply chains to international consumers of U.S. products and producers linked to these chains.

Recognizing the critical role of agriculture and forests in addressing climate change, the NCA5 provides a comprehensive evaluation of climate change’s relationship with the land sector. By understanding and prioritizing innovation, land managers can adapt more effectively, and working lands can contribute to mitigating climate change impacts.

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