MADISON, Wis. – The US Department of Agriculture is spending $19.5 million on research into the impact of climate variability and change on dairy and beef cattle.

"We have seen the impact that variable climate patterns have had on production agriculture for the past several years. These projects will deliver the best tools available to accurately measure and respond to the effects of climate on beef and dairy production," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Farmers and ranchers need sound, science-based information and solutions to help them make management decisions that will sustain their productivity and keep their operations economically viable."

The Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis. received $9.9 million over five years to study the environmental impact of various dairy production systems and develop best management practices for producers to implement at the farm level. The Univ. of Wisconsin is partnering in the project with the Univ. of Arkansas, Cornell Univ., the Univ. of Michigan, North Carolina A&T Univ., Pennsylvania State Univ. and the Univ. of Washington, along with four USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) laboratories, the US Department of Energy and the industry-sponsored Innovation Center for US Dairy.

Oklahoma State Univ., Stillwater, Okla., received $9.6 million over five years to better understand vulnerability and resilience of Southern Great Plains beef in an environment of increased climate variability, dynamic land-use and fluctuating markets. The team's goal is to safeguard regional beef production while mitigating the environmental footprint of agriculture. The team is comprised of 32 scientists from OSU, Kansas State Univ., Univ. of Oklahoma, Tarleton State Univ., the Samuel R. Noble Foundation and two ARS laboratories.