Building Food Resilience

The effects of climate change on the food system will depend on the system’s adaptive responses to local climate stressors. Adaptation can happen from the individual level to the global scale.

Agriculture has been able to adapt to recent changes in climate; however, increased innovation will be needed to ensure the rate of adaptation of agriculture and the associated socioeconomic system can keep pace with climate change over the next 25 years. The effects of climate change on the food system will depend on the system’s adaptive responses to local climate stressors.1 Adaptation can happen from the individual level to a global scale, and adaptive responses may range from farmers adjusting management practices in response to more variable weather patterns to seed producers developing drought-tolerant varieties.1 Engineers may find new ways to fortify transportation infrastructure and adjustments in international trade may be made as nations respond to food security concerns.

Data offer another opportunity to build resilience. The U.S. Government supports the development of data-driven tools that can help decision makers address some of the impacts that climate change is expected to have on the food system. Farmers, policymakers, and others can use these tools to make decisions that stabilize the food system in the face of climate change, and to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. In the Food Resilience subtopic pages, you will find links to data-driven tools and case studies of them in action.

Learn more/get help

  • eXtension: A research-based learning network that connects knowledge consumers with subject matter experts. eXtension offers an interactive learning environment that delivers researched knowledge from land-grant universities across America.
  • USDA Regional Climate Hubs: Delivering scientific information to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to help them adapt to climate change and weather variability. 
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service: Promotes adaptation and mitigation through land management practices.
    Climate Change
    National Water and Climate Center
  • Economic Research Service: Analyzing changes in the agricultural sector associated with climate and weather using expertise in economics of land use and management, technology adoption, and environmental program design.
  • Economic Research Service International Food Security. Annually forecasts food availability and access for 76 low- and middle-income countries over a 10-year period, incorporating observed production changes due to climatic events into projections.
  • USAID: Expertise on the impacts of global climate change on communities internationally.
  • USDA Risk Management Agency: Technical guidance on managing risk in agricultural production.
  • 1. a. b. Walthall, C.L., J. Hatfield, P. Backlund, L. Lengnick, E. Marshall, M. Walsh, S. Adkins, M. Aillery, E.A. Ainsworth, C. Ammann, C.J. Anderson, I. Bartomeus, L.H. Baumgard, F. Booker, B. Bradley, D.M. Blumenthal, J. Bunce, K. Burkey, S.M. Dabney, J.A. Delgado, J. Dukes, A. Funk, K. Garrett, M. Glenn, D.A. Grantz, D. Goodrich, S. Hu, R.C. Izaurralde, R.A.C. Jones, S-H. Kim, A.D.B. Leaky, K. Lewers, T.L. Mader, A. McClung, J. Morgan, D.J. Muth, M. Nearing, D.M. Oosterhuis, D. Ort, C. Parmesan, W.T. Pettigrew, W. Polley, R. Rader, C. Rice, M. Rivington, E. Rosskopf, W.A. Salas, L.E. Sollenberger, R. Srygley, C. Stöckle, E.S. Takle, D. Timlin, J.W. White, R. Winfree, L. Wright-Morton, and L.H. Ziska, 2012: Climate Change and Agriculture in the United States: Effects and Adaptation, USDA Technical Bulletin 1935, 186 pp.
Banner Image Credit: 
Apple orchard in Marlboro, New York. Public domain image by Juliancolton via Wikimedia Commons
Last modified: 
16 June 2017 - 10:32am