Climate Decision Tool Workshops for Ag/Natural Resource Professionals in Illinois

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $31,699.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2024
Grant Recipient: University of Illinois Extension
Region: North Central
State: Illinois
Project Coordinator:
Duane Friend
University of Illinois Extension


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: extension, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: other, risk management
  • Pest Management: weather monitoring
  • Sustainable Communities: other

    Proposal abstract:

    The USDA reports that climate change presents real threats to U.S. agricultural production, forest resources, and rural economies. Producers and land managers across the country are experiencing climate impacts on their operations through shifting weather patterns and increasingly frequent and severe storms, floods, drought, and wildfire. 

    These extreme weather events and climate trends are increasing the necessity for understanding how climate is changing, and how it will affect the Midwest.  There are many climate tools available for use, but many people who could benefit from these tools do not know about their existence or how to use them. Consultants such as Extension Educators or specialists from the Natural Resources Conservation Service that provide advice to farmers, ranchers, and landowners, may know about the existence of some of the tools, but they often lack the understanding of how these tools can be used in decision making.

    To address this, Illinois Extension, in cooperation with the Illinois State Climatologist, USDA Climate Hub, and Midwest Regional Climate Center, will develop and deliver three five-hour workshops around the state to these educators. The workshops will offer an overview of the available tools and provide participants with activities that will allow them to work with the tools. The workshops will also offer discussion to allow participants the opportunity to seek additional tools that could enhance the decision- making process.  The ultimate goal is to increase clients’ use of climate and weather tools so that they can more effectively manage risk and natural resources.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    A five-hour climate tool seminar/minicourse will be developed, which will also give participants hands-on activities that will give them the opportunity to learn how specific tools, such as the U.S Drought monitor, the Ag Risk viewer, USDA Urban Agriculture toolkit, the Midwest Regional Climate Center frost/freeze guidance, and the Forest Vegetation Simulator work and applications for their use. 

    Facilitated discussion questions about additional tools that are needed will also be developed and information collected from participants. Facilitated discussion results will be used to help assess the need for additional climate tools.

    The goal is for 25 attendees per session, with 15 from Extension and 10 from NRCS/SWCD. (30 attendees would be invited to each workshop).

    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.