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

2006 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

Summary

Two trainings on climate change and agriculture were held for agricultural service providers, one on March 4, 2006 in Baltimore, MD, and the other on April 7, 2006 in Windsor CT. These trainings provided comprehensive, practical, research-based information that covered the 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 crops and livestock; and implications for pest, soil, energy management, and agency outreach to farmers.

There were 41 participants at the Maryland training including presenters, and 64 at the Connnecticut training. All participants received a comprehensive notebook of materials to aid them in subsequent delivery of information to their clientele. A follow up survey will take place in spring of 2007 to see the extent to which the information was utilized by the participants.

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.

Since our recruitment for the trainings fell short of our goal, we obviously will not be able to fully meet the intended performance target. However, we hope that there will be significant use of the training information by those that did attend.

Accomplishments/Milestones

A wide range of new educational materials were developed for this training, including fact sheets and powerpoint presentations intended both to train the trainers and also to provide them with useful tools to use in their professional activities with clients.

These materials have been posted to a web site specificaly developed for this project:
www.climateandfarming.org.

For the two face-to-face trainings, the following program was developed and delivered:

8:00 Introduction

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

8:45 Climate change in the Northeast: past and predicted.Cameron Wake, Climate Change Res. Ctr., 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, Dept. of Animal Sciences, Cornell University

10:15 Break followed by Discussion

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

11:30 Climate change, CO2, and weed management. Lewis Ziska, Crop Systems and Global Change Laboratory, USDA Beltsville.

12:00 Lunch (included)

12:45 Soils and climate change: managing Carbon and Nitrogen.John Duxbury, Dept. of Crop and Soil Sciences, Cornell University

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

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

2:15 Break

2:30 Challenges and opportunities for agricultural service providers. Vern Grubinger, Center for Sustainable Agriculture, University of Vermont

3:00 Reaction panel and general discussion

3:30 Adjourn

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

There will be an e-mail survey 12 months after the trainings, with telephone follow up as necessary, to determine the extent to which participants utilized the information provided and how many of their clientele were reached.

Meanwhile, the project’s web site, www.climateandfarming, is being maintained with the cooperation of Clean Air-Cool Planet, Cornell University, and the University of Vermont as an ongoing information resource for the target audience. It has logged over 12,000 hits since it was launched in March 2006, and over the last three months of 2006 has been averaging about 65 per day.

Collaborators:

Bill Burtis

Communications Manager
Clean Air – Cool Planet
100 Market St., Suite 204
Portsmouth, NH 03801
Office Phone: 6034226464
Website: www.cleanaircoolplanet.org
David Wolfe

dww5@cornell.edu
Professor
Dept. of Horticulture, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
Office Phone: 6072557888
Website: www.hort.cornell.edu/wolfe