© Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, right, with Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, discussed a move on Wednesday.
On the heels of the Senate's passage of a long-awaited farm bill, the Obama administration announced the creation of seven regional "climate hubs" on Wednesday to help farmers and rural communities respond to the risks of climate change, including drought, invasive pests, fires and floods.

White House officials described the move as one of several executive actions that President Obama will take on climate change without action from Congress.

In substance, the creation of the climate hubs is a limited step, but it is part of a broader campaign by the administration to advance climate policy wherever possible with executive authority. The action is also part of a push to build political support for the administration's more divisive moves on climate change - in particular, the Environmental Protection Agency's regulations on coal-fired power plants.

Tom Vilsack, the secretary of agriculture and a former Iowa governor, announced the creation of the climate hubs at a White House briefing.

"For generations, America's farmers, ranchers and forest landowners have innovated and adapted to challenges," Mr. Vilsack said, according to prepared remarks. "Today, they face a new and more complex threat in the form of a changing and shifting climate, which impacts both our nation's forests and our farmers' bottom lines."

The hubs will be in Ames, Iowa; Durham, N.H.; Raleigh, N.C.; Fort Collins, Colo.; El Reno, Okla.; Corvallis, Ore.; and Las Cruces, N.M. The hubs will be set up at existing federal facilities and will not receive extra financing.

Rural communities in Republican voting districts often have a negative view of the E.P.A., which regulates agricultural activities, like the use of pesticides and water on farms. But farmers are also on the front lines of extreme weather, particularly increased drought, which scientists say is linked to climate change.

The farm belt suffered deeply during the record drought of 2012, and the government estimates that the American economy lost $50 billion because of drought from 2011 to 2013, much of that from the agricultural sector.

The Obama administration hopes the program will help farmers adapt to climate change while making the case for broader climate regulations.

The E.P.A. is now drafting rules that will limit carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants and potentially shutter hundreds of them across the country. The administration anticipates objections from the coal industry and many states when the regulations are completed.

Nebraska is already suing the administration over a draft climate change regulation issued in September, which would cut carbon pollution from future coal-fired power plants.

Correction: February 5, 2014

An earlier version of this article stated incorrectly one of the Obama administration's climate hubs to help farmers and rural communities respond to the risks of climate change, including drought, invasive pests, fires and floods. Davis, Calif., is a sub-hub, not a hub.