August 3, 2022

Trump’s Agriculture Department is barely helping farmers fight climate change

  • The Department of Agriculture has earmarked just 0.3% of its current $144 billion budget to prepare U.S. farmers to deal with the devastating consequences of climate change, Politico reported Tuesday.
  • Scarce funding has made it difficult for farmers to further prepare after a wave of natural disasters that have hit the country over the past year.
  • Farmers have received little help from the department when it comes to adjusting their planting practices to withstand severe floods or droughts as well as identifying regional risks related to climate change.
  • The agency under the Trump administration has significantly downplayed the risks of climate change.
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The Department of Agriculture has earmarked just 0.3% of its current $144 billion budget to prepare U.S. farmers to deal with the devastating consequences of climate change, Politico reported Tuesday.

Scarce funding has made it difficult for farmers to adapt after a wave of natural disasters that have hit the country over the past year. It included wildfires in the West, hurricanes in the Southeast and flooding in the Midwest.

Farmers have received little help from the department when it comes to adjusting their planting practices to withstand severe floods or droughts as well as identifying regional risks related to climate change.

Read more: Trump administration reportedly burying reports warning climate change will harm crops and cause health problems

The report noted that 2018 was one of the worst years for agriculture in decades – and flooding rendered an astonishing 20 million acres unplantable, roughly the size of South Carolina.

The Department of Agriculture’s main vehicle for helping farmers are the climate centers it launched across the country under the Obama administration. Politico said they operated with a skeleton staff, and senior department officials rarely discussed the climate threat.

“To say that the USDA is doing little to help farmers and ranchers is completely untrue,” a department spokesperson told the news outlet, pushing back against the report.

Read more: Scientists and economists are warning world governments that climate change will destroy capitalism as we know it

The agency under the Trump administration has significantly downplayed the risks of climate change. Earlier this summer, reports surfaced that he had buried a study indicating how rising temperatures, increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and unpredictable weather would impact US agriculture.

President Donald Trump, as well as Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, have both previously expressed skepticism and denied the threat of climate change. In 2014, Perdue wrote an article for the National Review saying that “blizzards, hurricanes and tornadoes have been around since the dawn of time, but now they want us to accept that it’s all the result of climate change”.

In June, Perdue told CNN of climate change: “I think it’s the weather, frankly. They’re changing… It rained yesterday. It’s a beautiful, pretty day today. short increments and long increments.”