The University of Florida has received a multi-million dollar grant to study how climate change could affect Florida’s agriculture.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded the Southeast Climate Consortium a five-year, $4 million grant to pay for climate research at the university and other southeastern universities.

Florida university to study agricultural climate change

The grant from the consortium, which concentrates on the effects of the climate on agriculture and water, should allow Florida’s Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences to examine climate variability and change through all time scales, Jim Jones, the study’s main investigator and a UF professor of agricultural and biological engineering, said in a news release.

He said growers want forecasts and climate outlooks for 10-20 years and want to know how to plan for their agricultural and water management operations and decisions.

Along with UF, the consortium includes Florida State University, Tallahassee, the University of Miami, the University of Georgia, Athens, Auburn University, Auburn, Ala., University of Alabama-Huntsville, Clemson University, Clemson, S.C., and North Carolina State University, Raleigh,.

The grants will allow the schools to develop nationwide climate assessments and plan to generate a “state of the union” report on climate change and how it changes land and society, according to the release.

“Because climate change has generated controversy, it’s sometimes difficult for agricultural producers to know which information to believe,” Jones said in the release. “By having this grant, we hope to influence the next assessment to make sure it includes the kind of information decision-makers really need”

The funding should also help researchers work with growers and provide them educational information to help them understand available material so they can better decide what to do in response to science-based climate change research that affects their state and region, he said in the release.