Moving Beyond Anecdotes: Making Data Driven Decisions to Adapt to Climate Change

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2019: $7,859.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2021
Grant Recipient: Prairie Wind Family Farm
Region: North Central
State: Illinois
Project Coordinator:
Jeff Miller
Prairie Wind Family Farm


  • Vegetables: beets, broccoli, cabbages, greens (lettuces), tomatoes


  • Crop Production: crop improvement and selection, drainage systems, drought tolerance, water management
  • Education and Training: decision support system, farmer to farmer
  • Farm Business Management: risk management, whole farm planning
  • Pest Management: disease vectors, field monitoring/scouting, prevention, weather monitoring

    Proposal summary:

    Each year, we have observed the weather patterns changing, and as the weather becomes more extreme, we observe more significant negative impacts on our crops. We have experienced the loss of important crops over the last several years making it it is increasingly difficult to run a viable farm business. Our current ability to assess these changes in weather and its impacts depends on photographs, anecdotes and limited access to current and past weather data from remote sites. These disparate sets of data make it difficult to assess and correlate how extreme weather events affect the health and quality of our crops. Our grant proposal would allow us to collect weather data specific to our farm and tie that data to aerial imagery collected on a regular basis. Combining aerial imagery and site specific weather data will allow us to: a) correlate the responses of our crops at different stages of growth to various weather events and the conditions following those events and b) make better, more informed decisions on how to respond. We will share both our process and results with farms in our region and help advise them on where these technologies might fit into their farms.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Evaluate the impact of extreme weather events on crop growth, crop health and crop quality, and identify predictive signs that can impact future crop planning.
    2. Collect, correlate, analyze and share data to educate regional farmers and the public on the impacts of changing weather to crops and soils.
    3. Demonstrate the development of climate-smart decision making methodologies.
    4. Help farmers increase their economic viability through a demonstration of when, where and how to effectively use resources and respond to changing weather patterns.
    5. Assist other farmers in determining if this methodology is appropriate for their farm.
    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.