Climate change and agriculture: Preparing educators to promote practical and profitable responses

2005 Annual Report for ENE05-091

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2005: $113,106.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $5,891.00
Region: Northeast
State: Vermont
Project Leader:
Dr. Vern Grubinger
University of Vermont

Climate change and agriculture: Preparing educators to promote practical and profitable responses


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.

A training on climate change and agriculture is planned for March 4, 2006 in Baltimore, MD, and again on April 7, 2006 in Windsor CT. The training will provide comprehensive, practical, research-based information that covers: 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, energy management, and agency outreach to farmers.

One hundred participants (project beneficiaries) are expected at each training. A CD with powerpoint presentations, a notebook of written information resources, and a supporting web site will be developed to supplement the one-day trainings.

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.

Objectives/Performance Targets

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.


A dozen conference calls have taken place to date among the project’s planning committee members and several calls have included climate experts hired by the project to develop and deliver educational content.

Additionally, an advisory group of seven agricultural service providers (beneficiaries) from the Northeast was recruited to provide feedback to the planning process. Four members are in extension, one a soil scientist with NRCS, one the director of a statewide organic farming association, and one a lecturer specializing in renewable energy. The group represents New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Vermont.

Over the summer, the advisory group was contacted by email and provided with a description of the project, a draft of the resource notebook and a related questionnaire. The questions were divided into three areas – topics or subject areas covered in outline, types of resources needed and the suggested format for delivery. Subsequent telephone interviews were made to four of the panel members for more in-depth information.

An agenda, speakers, dates, and locations for the trainings have been finalized:

“Climate Change and Agriculture: Promoting Practical and Profitable Responses”
A Professional Development Workshop for Extension and Agricultural Service Providers

March 7, 2006 at the Maritime Institute, Baltimore MD
Repeated on April 4, 2006 at the Ramada Inn, Windsor CT

8:00 Introduction

8:15 Overview of greenhouse gases and climate change.
Art DeGaetano,Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University

8:45 Climate change in the Northeast: past and predicted.
Cameron Wake, Climate Change Research Center, University of New Hampshire

9:15 Potential impacts of climate change on crops.
David Wolfe, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University

9:45 Potential impacts of climate change on dairy and other livestock.
Larry Chase, Department of Animal Sciences, Cornell University

10:15 Break

10:30 Break Out Groups with Speakers and Discussion

11:00 Insect and disease management in a changing climate.
Curt Petzoldt and Abby Seaman, IPM Program, Cornell-Geneva Experiment Station

11:30 Climate change, CO2, and weed management.
Lew Ziska, Crop Systems and Global Change Laboratory, USDA-ARS Beltsville, MD

12:00 Lunch

12:45 Soils and climate change: managing C and N.
John Duxbury, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Cornell University

1:15 Energy use and greenhouse gases: NY dairies.
Jennifer Wightman, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Cornell University

1:45 Climate change and biofuels: opportunities for farmers.
John Duxbury, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Cornell University

2:15 Break

2:30 Challenges and opportunities for service providers.

Vern Grubinger,Center for Sustainable Agriculture, University of Vermont

3:00 Reaction Panel and Discussion

3:30 Adjourn

In November 2005, the trainings were announced via e-mail to all state PDP coordinators and they have been asked to pass on the web site with program and registration information on to Extension, NRCS, state agencies, and other agricultural service providers. A follow up reminder will be sent in January 2006. Effective recruitment depends in large part on the willingness and ability of state coordinators to communicate with target beneficiaries.

The web site with the agenda above, registration information, and links to hotel lodging information is:

A series of fact sheets and ‘teaching powerpoints’ is in the process of being compiled by the presenters, to be included on the project CD and web site, along with many citations and links to relevant resources.


Bill Burtis

Communications Manager
Clean Air – Cool Planet
100 Market St., Suite 204
Portsmouth, NH 03801
Office Phone: 6034226464
David Wolfe
Dept. of Horticulture, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
Office Phone: 6072557888