Increasing Extension Expertise to Assist Agriculture Adaptation to a Changing Climate

Progress report for ENC19-183

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $89,959.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2023
Grant Recipient: Purdue Extension
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Project Coordinator:
Hans Schmitz
Purdue Extension
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Project Information

Abstract:

The North Central Climate Collaborative (NC3) was formed in 2017 as an internal network of Extension Educators and Specialists with an interest in climate change and agriculture programming. Since that time, the team has held conferences and webinars to increase other educator and partner agency expertise in basic climate change issues and their effects on agriculture.  With representation in all 12 states in the North Central Region, the team now finds that deeper knowledge is needed amongst its membership to more adequately address educator questions and establish themselves as regional content experts.

         The Project will be completed in three parts.  The members of the NC3 will complete an in-depth questionnaire to assess comfortability and knowledge in climate change and agriculture programming.  Based on results, needs will be identified within the community and an agenda for a three day conference held in a central location within the North Central Region will be held.  Speakers and activities at this conference will target knowledge gaps and present new research and findings within the field.  Attendees will return to their states with greater knowledge as well as hands-on resources and/or lesson plans for programs to present around the region.  Standard evaluations will also be disseminated for use with clientele, to be returned and aggregated region-wide.  After six to nine months of leaving the conference, medium-term impact on knowledge gained, programs provided, and use of resources provided will be assessed using surveys of attendees.

Project Objectives:

As a result of this activity, we will have at least 24 Extension Educators or Specialists educated, two from each state in the North Central Region.

Extension Program Leaders in each state will recognize attending educators or specialists as having a specialty in climate change and agriculture programming via certification.

Those educators will be expected to program within their states, anticipating at least 50 producers per state to be educated before the conclusion of the project. This total reach in post-event surveys collected should number no less than 600, and likely many more.

The collaboration with the USDA Climate Hubs will result in a long-term strengthening of the relationship.

Wherein the initial survey/assessment identifies needs, educational materials and hands-on technologies will be shared with participants.

Updates will be made to the Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture Resource Handbook (Doll and Pathak, 2015a), as well as the Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture PowerPoint Curriculum (Doll and Pathak, 2015b).

Cooperators

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Education

Educational approach:

Education has occurred via bimonthly webinars by the North Central Climate Collaborative while the workshop has been surveyed and planned otherwise.  Webinars occurred in October and December of 2019 and February, April, June, August, October, and December of 2020.  February, April, October, and December webinars occurred in 2021, and a February webinar in 2022.

The workshop occurred virtually in June of 2021, held over three mornings.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Climate Change's Impact of Field Crop Diseases
Objective:

To enhance knowledge of attendees in climate change and integrated pest management practices.

Description:

This webinar featured Daren Mueller, Associate Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist at Iowa State University. Mueller is the coordinator of the ISU Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program which, among other things, develops several publications about field crop pests, leads the ISU Field Extension Farm and is involved in several STEM education projects. In this webinar, Mueller explores how climate change and changing management practices can affect corn and soybean diseases.

Outcomes and impacts:

Surveys administered during this webinar were taken by Tyler Williams, who is no longer with UNL Extension.  Data will be retrieved and updated when received.

Link to webinar: https://youtu.be/KeUeEHPRkXE 

Climate for Cities: Increasing the Capacity for Cities to Effectively Plan for Climate Change
Objective:

Enhance participants knowledge of community planning for climate change.

Description:

Rising temperatures, greater variability, shifting precipitation patterns, and more extreme rain events due to climate change pose current and future challenges for cities. Impacts permeate across many aspects of municipalities – infrastructure, health, recreation, utilities, emergency operations, etc. Proper adaptation requires a knowledge and understanding of climate projections and how future changes will influence specific municipal concerns. This webinar featured Dr. Martha Shulski of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and discusses the Climate for Cities program which aims to enhance decision-making and increase capacity of both small and large communities to effectively plan for change.

Outcomes and impacts:

Surveys administered during this webinar were taken by Tyler Williams, who is no longer with UNL Extension.  Data will be retrieved and updated when received.

Link to webinar:  https://youtu.be/yshbAdnUuNo 

Missouri River Basin Flood Outlook
Objective:

To enhance participants knowledge of climate change impacts on potential flooding in the Missouri River Basin.

Description:

2019 saw record-setting flooding across many parts of the North Central Region, and many areas are continuing to deal with excess water. This is especially top of mind as we head into the spring. This month’s webinar featured Kevin Low, river forecaster for the National Weather Service’s Missouri Basin River Forecast Center, who summarized the operations of the National Weather Service Missouri Basin River Forecast Center and provided a briefing on the 2020 Spring flood risk across the basin.

Outcomes and impacts:

Surveys administered during this webinar were taken by Tyler Williams, who is no longer with UNL Extension.  Data will be retrieved and updated when received.

Link to webinar: https://youtu.be/HnIaMbFt6gM 

Bioenergy and Ecosystem Services – What’s Next?
Objective:

To enhance participant knowledge of biofuels, the economics of biofuel production, and COVID 19 impacts.

Description:

COVID-19 has drastically impacted our nation’s people, economy, and politics.  This webinar features David Ripplinger of North Dakota State University Extension who discussed the current social, economic, and political situation as it pertains to biofuels and ecosystem services and what you can expect moving forward.

Slide deck at https://northcentralclimate.org/files/2020/04/Ripplinger-Bioenergy-and-Ecosystem-Services.pdf?x24082. 

Outcomes and impacts:

Surveys administered during this webinar were taken by Tyler Williams, who is no longer with UNL Extension.  Data will be retrieved and updated when received.

Link to webinar:  https://youtu.be/lUx7QvN1BUw 

Conservation Drainage: Managing Water for the Future
Objective:

To enhance participant knowledge of conservation drainage practices.

Description:

Tile drainage is widespread throughout the Midwest.  As weather patterns continue to shift toward more precipitation outside of the growing season and less precipitation during the growing season, water management will need to continue to adapt to provide resilience. Conservation drainage is a concept that incorporates methods of storing water or treating water in the landscape or edge-of-field to increase resilience and improve water quality while maintaining the agronomic benefits of tile drainage.  This webinar will cover some of the recent research in conservation drainage, how they can be incorporated into new and existing practices, and what the future of conservation drainage might look like.

Outcomes and impacts:

With 258 participants on this webinar, Schmitz forgot to save the survey results from the post-survey questions.

Link to webinar:  https://youtu.be/N6M_f-pCjm0 

Weather-Ready Farms: An Extension Resilience Resource
Objective:

Participants will increase knowledge of use of market research to inform a weather resilience program.

Description:

The University of Nebraska Extension has developed a program in which farmers are certificated at different tiers for their use of practices science knows to promote resilience to extreme weather events.  This webinar featured a discussion of the development of that curriculum, current issues, and related resources for use by those in other states.

Outcomes and impacts:

All survey respondents reported learning something on the webinar.  All survey respondents were at least a little likely to share what they learned.

Link to webinar:  https://youtu.be/_qRjvK2y7mw 

Animal Agriculture in a Changing Climate
Objective:

Participants gain knowledge about animal agriculture education efforts around climate change.

Description:

The Animal Agriculture in a Changing Climate (AACC) project was conducted with the goal of building capacity among Extension professionals and other livestock advisors to address climate change issues. The AACC project team learned some pivotal lessons early during the multi-regional project that were foundational to the development of key products and delivery of regional and national programs to over 1400 professionals. This webinar highlights lessons learned along with program deliverables and impacts. It also discusses the issue of methane production in beef cattle and some specific techniques that either increase or decrease production per day, per body weight, and per production outcome (like weight gain).

Outcomes and impacts:

99% of survey respondents reported learning something on the webinar.  97% of survey respondents were at least a little likely to share what they learned.

Link to webinar:  https://youtu.be/2NUwEuqBNgE 

Drought Decision Calendars for Specialty Crops
Objective:

Participants gain knowledge in decision-making around specialty crop agronomics annually.

Description:

This webinar highlighted a recent project engaging specialty crop growers in the Midwest to better understand the seasonality of their decisions and drought information needs. The project has resulted in graphical decision calendars for grape, apple, cranberry, and irrigated potato production. Decision calendars describe the timing of management practices and decisions that are made throughout crop planting, growing, harvest, and dormant seasons, along with the climate-related concerns that impact the outcomes of management decisions. Decision calendars can help identify opportunities for inserting climate information into a decision process. This webinar discusses how decision calendars can be used to communicate and improve the usability of drought/climate monitoring and prediction science.

Outcomes and impacts:

All survey respondents reported learning something on the webinar.  All survey respondents were at least a little likely to share what they learned.

Link to webinar:  https://youtu.be/hW7NP3c6-9k 

Understanding Climate Adaptations in the Eastern Corn Belt
Objective:

Participants will gain knowledge in farmer decision-making and adaptation in the Eastern Corn Belt

Description:

Climate change across the eastern Corn Belt Region (ECBR) is projected to bring higher temperatures, more variable and extreme levels of precipitation, and longer growing seasons. While these possibilities imply opportunity for increased production in the ECBR, managing change sustainably is increasingly challenging.

The Agroecosystem Resilience Project is engaged in research that will elevate the capacity of decision-makers in the ECBR to adapt to a variable climate. Their approach is to identify how changing seasonal and extreme precipitation patterns induce changes in land use and management patterns driven by heterogeneous farmer adaptations. To assess multiple goals related to agricultural production, conservation, and societal well-being, they are building an integrated set of models of the climate system, regional economy, and agroecological outcomes and use this to evaluate policies and programs by projecting their impacts on the sustainability and resilience of this regional agroecosystem under varying futures.

This webinar discusses the project, their approach, progress to date and outcomes. For more information, please visit Agroecosystem Resilience Project.

Outcomes and impacts:

All survey respondents reported learning something on the webinar.  94% of survey respondents were at least a little likely to share what they learned.

Understanding Climate Adaptation Decision-making in the Eastern Corn Belt
Objective:

To share research on farmer practice adoption in a climate adaptation lens

Description:

Climate change across the eastern Corn Belt Region (ECBR) is projected to bring higher temperatures, more variable and extreme levels of precipitation, and longer growing seasons. While these possibilities imply opportunity for increased production in the ECBR, managing change sustainably is increasingly challenging. We are engaged in research that will elevate the capacity of decision makers in the ECBR to adapt to a variable climate. Our approach is to identify how changing seasonal and extreme precipitation patterns induce changes in land use and management patterns driven by heterogeneous farmer adaptations. To assess multiple goals related to agricultural production, conservation, and societal well-being, we are building an integrated set of models of the climate system, regional economy, and agroecological outcomes and use this to evaluate policies and programs by projecting their impacts on the sustainability and resilience of this regional agroecosystem under varying futures. Join us as we discuss the on-going progress of this project. For more information, including project and team descriptions, video overviews, and outcomes, please visit Agroecosystem Resilience Project.

Outcomes and impacts:

100% of survey respondents learned something from the webinar. 94% reported that they would share information. (N=18)

Learning from your Neighbor - Climate Resiliency in Agriculture
Objective:

Windy Kelley shares a resource detailing how farmers and ranchers are discussing climate in the Western Corn Belt.

Description:

Windy Kelley described and promoting this site promoting research-based information:  https://usdaars.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=410928c38df9402aa1167235fdc2781b. 

Outcomes and impacts:

40% of attendees said that they learned something from the webinar.  40% of attendees said that they would share information from the webinar.  (N=15)

Climate Change 2021: A Summary of the IPCC’s 2021 Physical Science Basis Report
Objective:

To share recently-released global science downscaled to the North Central Region

Description:

This webinar summarized some of the key take-aways of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis” with Dr. Heidi Roop. Roop is the Director of the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership and an Assistant Professor of Climate Science at the University of Minnesota. Heidi discusses the broader global picture, discussed the scientific advances made since the 2013 5th Assessment report, and explores the regional implications of this report for the United States, with a focus on the Midwest and Northern Great Plains.

Outcomes and impacts:

100% of attendees learned something from the webinar.  100% of attendees were likely to share information from the webinar. (N=81)

The Scoop on Snowfall in the North Central US
Objective:

To share meteorological and climatological resources for wintertime in the NC Region

Description:

Are your dreams of a White Christmas likely to come true? What is the snowiest month of the year? How far into spring do you need to keep that snow shovel handy? This webinar will look at past snowfall and winter weather data for the north central US, share tools and resources to help you track current and past winter conditions, and provide the latest seasonal weather outlook.

Outcomes and impacts:

100% of survey respondents learned something from the webinar.  100% of respondents were likely to share information from the webinar. (N=57)

North Central Climate 201
Objective:

To train extension clientele and partners in advanced climate topics

Description:

The North Central Climate Collaborative hosted a FREE advanced climate change virtual conference June 8-10th, 2021. The conference featured sessions on climate modeling, climate and its impact on communities, and the intersection of climate, agriculture and water.  We were excited to feature a keynote address by Dr. Marshall Shepherd, a leading international expert on weather and climate and author of “The Race Awakening of 2020: A Six-Step Guide for Moving Forward”.

Schedule in Brief

 

 

Tuesday, June, 8th from 9AM – 12PM CT

  • 2020 New Climate “Normals” with Trent Ford with the Illinois State Climatologist Office  – View the Recording
  • Climate Projections and Models with Martha Schulski with the Nebraska State Climate Office – View the Recording
  • Climate Assessments with Melissa Widhalm of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center – View the Recording
  • Behind the Climate Projection Center Outlooks with Jon Gottschalck with the National Weather Service – View the Recording

Wednesday, June 9th from 9AM – 12PM CT

  • Keynote presentation from Dr. J Marshall Shepherd of the University of Georgia on Climate Justice – View the Recording
  • Community Climate Risk and Planning with Lisa Graff and Rebecca Leitschuh of the Illinois State Water Survey – View the Recording

Thursday, June 10th from 9AM – 12PM CT

  • Climate indicators on Agriculture with Dennis Todey with the USDA Climate Hubs – View the Recording
  • Adaptation through Conservation with Linda Prokopy of Purdue University – View the Recording
  • Climate’s impact on Habitat, Conservation, Wildlife and Fisheries with Sam Fuhlendorf of Oklahoma State University – View the Recording
Outcomes and impacts:

We had 428 registrants from multiple countries.  Of survey respondents after the series, 72% felt more comfortable doing climate-related education or programming.  93% of respondents planned to take an action or change a behavior as a result of the series.

Educational & Outreach Activities

51 Consultations
1 Online trainings
13 Webinars / talks / presentations

Participation Summary:

173 Extension
81 NRCS
48 Researchers
54 Agency
54 Ag service providers (other or unspecified)
22 Farmers/ranchers
360 Others

Learning Outcomes

510 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
442 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

2 New working collaborations
Project outcomes:

To come later in project evaluation period.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.