Ensuring Sustainable Agriculture in the Face of a Changing Climate

2012 Annual Report for ENC11-127

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2011: $74,286.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Tapan Pathak
University of Nebraska
Julie Doll
Michigan Agriculture Advancement

Ensuring Sustainable Agriculture in the Face of a Changing Climate


It is well understood that changes in the climate will greatly impact agriculture. There are numerous credible sources of information available documenting the impact of climate change on agriculture and vice versa; but simply providing information does not motivate people to take action. Likewise, insufficient awareness or understanding of climate change may cause individuals to take remedial actions that are sub-optimal. Through previously conducted focus groups, surveys, and informal discussions with educators in Nebraska and Michigan, it is well understood that farmers want and need information on climate change that is unbiased, science based, and locally relevant. Extension can play a leading role in helping them in this area. In order to ensure the sustainability of NCR agriculture in the face of climate change, educators need professional development that is 1) science based, 2) relevant to local agricultural practices, and 3) a two-way exchange of knowledge with farmers.

Objectives/Performance Targets

The objective of this project is to provide regionally tailored climate change and sustainable Agricultural professional development for educators in the North Central Region of the United States.


  • During the year 2012 the following accomplishments were made:

    We created a resource handbook on climate change and sustainable agriculture for educators. We compiled credible sources of information from various sources such as governmental documents, USDA reports, and university fact sheets to create a resource handbook that is unbiased and has science-based information relevant to educators in the North Central Region. The resource handbook was organized into six subsections that include: climate change basics, climate change trends and projections, climate change effects on agriculture, agricultural adaptation and mitigation to climate change, climate change communication, and Frequently Asked Questions.
    We developed a core curriculum lesson on climate change and agriculture that can be used during a farmer meeting or agricultural program. It consists of a PowerPoint presentation along with the explanation of the content in those slides. It also includes an optional one-page evaluation to use with farmers to measure reactions of this primary audience to the materials, thus helping educators evaluate their own programs.
    Co-PIs Pathak and Doll attended the 2012 NCR SARE meeting on Carbon, Energy, and Climate and distributed the resource handbook/curriculum and informed educators about the climate change training in 2013.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

We successfully disseminated resource hand book and core curriculum to more than 150 extension professionals at the Carbon, Energy, and Climate meeting in Michigan. We also networked and informed educators about our SARE PDP meeting for 2013. At this stage of project, it was premature to document any impacts since the primary focus during 2012 was to develop and disseminate climate change and sustainable agriculture resources. Measurable impacts were documented during the 2013 PDP workshops and will be reported in 2013 annual report.


Karen Deboer

Extension Educator
Extension PO Box 356
Sidney, NE 69162
Office Phone: 3082544455
Dr. Martha Shulski

Assistant Professor
3310 Holdrege St
Lincoln, NE 68583
Office Phone: 4024726711
Dr. Betsy Dierberger

Grassland Forage Specialist
3001 Coolidge Road, Suite 250
East Lansing, MI 48823
Office Phone: 5173245270
Marilyn Thelen

MSU Extension Educator
Michigan State University Extension
100 E. State St.
St. Johns, MI 48879
Office Phone: 9892245240
Henry Miller

17613 Fairchild Road
Constantine, MI 49042
Julie Doll

Extension Coordinator
Kelloggs Biological station
Hickory Corners, MI 49060
Office Phone: 2696712266
Dr. Jeff Andresen

Professor and State Climatologist
Michigan State University
116 Geography Building
East Lansing, MI 48824
Office Phone: 5173554649
Dr. Cheryl Peters

MSU Extension Specialist
Michigan State University Extension
151 E. Huron Ave.
Rogers City, MI 49779
Office Phone: 9897342166