- Education and Training: extension
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently reported that climate change is already upon us. For example, the NE average annual temperature has increased 1.8 F since 1900. Bloom dates of lilacs, apples and grapes in the NE are 4 to 8 days earlier than in the 1960s. Crops and their pests are affected by rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations, as well as changes in temperature and precipitation. Climate change will alter performance of some crops as well as interactions between plants and pollinators, insect pests, diseases, and weeds. Climate change presents potential agricultural opportunities (e.g., extended growing season) as well as risks (e.g., increased pest pressure) that will affect food security and rural economies. There is a critical need to provide agricultural educators with the knowledge and tools to assist farmers in making informed choices within the context of a changing climate. The proposed training will provide comprehensive, practical, research-based information in modules that cover: current knowledge regarding greenhouse gases and climate change; changes in temperature and precipitation patterns in our region and projections for the future; potential impacts (positive and negative) on plants, animals, and different types of agriculture; and implications for pest, soil, and energy management in relation to farm profitability. Within a year of the training, 150 participants will use the information provided in the training as part of their ongoing educational efforts with stakeholders. A CD with powerpoint presentations, a notebook of information resources, and a supporting web site will be developed to help them do this. A web-based survey conducted twelve months after the training will assess the extent to which information and resources have been utilized by participants in their educational programs, as well as how many people have been reached by those programs.
Performance targets from proposal:
Within 12 months of the training, 150 agricultural service providers in the Northeast will offer information to their clients on opportunities and risks for agriculture associated with climate change, with a focus on practical and profitable farmer responses.