- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, workshop, technical assistance
- Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
- Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
- Soil Management: organic matter
The California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN) is a coalition of sustainable agriculture organizations that seeks policy solutions to support California agriculture in adapting to and providing solutions for climate change. We will provide training and practical tools on climate change for agricultural professionals from NRCS, Cooperative Extension and Resource Conservation Districts. We will produce a series of workshops and farm tours, webinars, video seminars and written materials on the role of sustainable agriculture in providing climate benefits (both mitigation and adaptation). This project will build upon the lessons learned in a project previously funded by SARE in 2009, incorporate participant feedback, and integrate new research. In addition, some of the outputs for this project will be available on the websites of our partners, making the material available more widely over time.
Project objectives from proposal:
Building upon our experiences with providing professional development support to NRCS, RCD and Cooperative Extension staff during a previously funded SARE project in 2010/11, we will deepen and expand the resources provided for supporting producers in adapting to and mitigating climate change. The outputs described below will increase the capacity of technical advisors to respond to the needs of California farmers and ranchers for reliable and current information about on-farm practices with climate benefits and climate policies affecting producers.
1. Audience — Our primary audience will be state and regional NRCS staff, and secondary audiences will be RCD and Extension staff. We will work with our Planning Committee and regional agency staff to promote the project and provide access to the resources produced. We estimate participation by 25 to 35 people at each field day and webinar, for a total of 150 to 210 project participants.
2. Activities and Methods — We will use two forums for engaging agricultural professionals. We will provide three full day workshops that include a farm visit, held in areas of California that were not served during the initial pilot phase of this project and where demand is high. Each workshop will include a series of presentations covering the impacts of climate change on agriculture and solutions to climate-related issues that are relevant to the region, as well as a farm tour modeling some of the practices discussed. We will also offer three webinars focused on specific topics of common interest that respond to a demand for education that is less time and budget intensive than in-person workshops, a real concern for these agencies that face increasing budget cuts and constrained resources. Each of these forums will highlight and demonstrate the sustainable farming practices that provide climate benefits and review climate change scenarios and their implications for California agriculture as well as the latest with state and federal climate change policy and its implications for sustainable agriculture. The workshops will be tailored to the issues and opportunities specific to the region where they take place, and will be presented by academic researchers, agricultural professionals and/or producers.
3. Products — In addition to the forums described above, we will produce the following materials that will be made available on the websites of participating partners:
a. Videos of the presentations at the workshops;
b. Recordings of the webinars;
c. Three handouts that summarize the practical applications of climate and agriculture research, intended for producer audiences.
The expected outcome of this project is to provide training and practical tools for agricultural professionals at NRCS, RCD and Cooperative Extension that they can use to provide technical support to producers on the subject of climate change. The three workshops will be offered in regions of California that we have not already served in our previous project, and where there is demonstrated interest in the topic of climate change. The three webinars will augment the workshops by focusing on specific topics of interest identified by participants in prior workshops, and will be offered widely to professionals across California in hopes that we will reach people who had been unable to attend a full day-long workshop. Finally, the handouts will be developed for a producer audience, giving advisors a tool for communicating the issues to the constituents they serve. Each of these professional development tools will have the expected outcome of bridging between theory and practice by convening researchers, agricultural professionals and growers demonstrating practices that have climate benefits.