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Bolstering Extension-Climate Hub Partnerships in the Midwest

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has invested in new Cooperative Extension and USDA Climate Hubs partnerships to bolster climate research and connect and share climate-smart solutions directly with the agricultural community. This investment is part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the nation’s leading competitive grants program for agricultural sciences. This new AFRI program area provides effective, translatable and scalable approaches to address climate change through regional partnerships, including the USDA Climate Hubs, and further extends outreach through organizations such as the Cooperative Extension Service.

The following projects were awarded in 2022 and 2023 to address climate-related challenges in Midwest agriculture.

Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Fellowship (CAMF)

The current and probable future effects of climate change on agriculture in the United States are well known. The Midwest and the Northeast, two temperate regions that produce significant amounts of agricultural commodities and specialty crops, are predicted to face both primary and secondary challenges due to climate change. Despite these challenges, agricultural producers in the Midwest and Northeast can adapt to and help mitigate climate change. The goal of the Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Fellowship (CAMF) project is to help build communities that support and accelerate agricultural climate adaptation and mitigation practices.

A variety of objectives help to support the project’s goal:

Objective 1: Improve applied knowledge of and confidence in climate change impacts in vegetable and small fruit, row crop, and diversified agriculture and agroforestry systems, with programming specifically tailored for women producers and agricultural advisors.

Objective 2: Support farmers and agricultural advisors (“fellows”) to develop individualized adaptation and mitigation plans.

Objective 3: Develop outreach and education products that reach agricultural advisors and farmers beyond program participants.

Objective 4: Support agricultural advisors to integrate climate change information into current programs and/or develop new programs focused on climate change.

Objective 5: Develop recommendations for future climate-focused programs targeting partner agencies and organizations, including Extension.

Key Personnel

  • Lead-PI - Dr. Rachel Schattman                  (University of Maine) 
  • Co-PI - Erin Lane                                               (USDA Northeast Climate Hub)
  • Co-PI - Dr. Laurie Nowatzke                         (USDA Midwest Climate Hub)
  • Co-PI - Dr. Marjorie Kaplan                           (Rutgers University) 
  • Co-PI - Dr. Sean Birkel                                     (University of Maine Extension)
  • Co-PI - Dr. Gabrielle Roesch-McNally       (American Farmland Trust)
  • Co-PI - Kate MacFarland                                (USDA National Agroforestry Center) 
  • Co-PI - Dr. Caleb Goossen                             (Maine Organic Farming and Gardening Association (MOFGA)) 
  • Co-PI - Dr. Joshua Faulkner                          (University of Vermont)
  • Co-PI - Monica Jean                                         (Michigan State University)
  • Co-PI - Dr. Dennis Todey                                (USDA Midwest Climate Hub)
  • Sara Kelemen                                                     (University of Maine) 


Climate Ready Midwest

Climate change is a threat to the profitability and sustainability of agricultural production across the Midwest. The need to build resilience and mitigate against dire outcomes is as urgent as ever, yet complex barriers (some of which are not yet fully known) to the widespread adoption of climate-smart strategies remain. Therefore, the goal of the “Climate Ready Midwest” project is to increase Midwest adoption of regionally-scalable climate-smart activities including enhanced adaptation of working lands, better carbon management and net-zero emissions agriculture, and youth engagement by improving shared understanding of climate-change-related needs of diverse stakeholders across the Midwest, developing Theories of Change for livestock and cropping systems, elevating the perspectives and voices of underserved audiences, and strengthening climate science/education infrastructure through a re-imagined Extension-Midwest Climate Hub partnership 

Project objectives include:


Objective 1: Assess the current application of and need for climate-informed agriculture strategies and develop Regional Theories of Change for how the Extension-MCH model can increase the adoption of climate-informed best management practices.

Objective 2: Build a formal partnership between Extension and the Midwest Climate Hub that will leverage resources to create effective communication between local and regional stakeholders and enhance dissemination of climate-informed strategies.

Objective 3: Utilize the Theory of Change and Extension-MCH partnership to demonstrate enhanced climate training for   Extension professionals related to adaptation of working lands, carbon management and carbon sequestration, and youth programming.

Key Personnel

  • Dr. Aaron B. Wilson                         (Project Director, The Ohio State University)
  • Dr. Dennis Todey                              (Co-PD, Midwest Climate Hub)
  • Dr. Cindy Folck                                  (Co-PD, Central State University) 
  • Dr. Ken Genskow                              (University of Wisconsin)
  • Dr. Patrick Robinson                       (Co-PD, University of Wisconsin) 
  • Dr. Samuel Pratsch                          (Evaluator, University of Wisconsin) 
  • Dr. Jeff Andresen                              (Co-PD, Michigan State University) 
  • Dr. Prosper Doamekpor                 (Co-PD, Central State University) 
  • Monica Jean                                       (Co-PD, Michigan State University)
  • Hans Schmitz                                     (Co-PD, Purdue University) 
  • Dr. Peggy Hall                                     (Co-PD, The Ohio State University)
  • Mike Estadt                                          (Co-PD, The Ohio State University) 
  • Tony Staubach                                   (Senior Personnel, The Ohio State University)

Integrated Midwest Partnerships for Actionable Climate Tools and Training (IMPACT2)

Climate change jeopardizes agriculture in the Midwestern United States, where current cropping systems are expected to become less effective under future conditions. The goal of the Integrated Midwest Partnerships for Actionable Climate Tools and Training (IMPACT2) project is to help a diverse set of agricultural producers and landowners in the Corn Belt adapt to a changing climate through system transformation. The IMPACT2 project focuses on the three core states in the Corn Belt: Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. 

The project’s goal will be addressed through three measurable objectives: 

Objective 1: Convene scenario-based visioning sessions with a diversity of producers and agricultural advisers to develop a strategy for defining climate-optimal systems and to understand needs for information related to transformative agricultural systems. 

Objective 2: Develop a Climate-Smart Agriculture resource portal that integrates informational resources, curriculum guidance, and exploration tools. 

Objective 3: Build out and implement Extension training materials for Climate-Smart Agriculture. 

Key Personnel 

  • PD: Linda S. Prokopy                                        (Purdue University)
  • CO-PD: Dennis Todey                                       (USDA Midwest Climate Hub)
  • CO-PD: J. Gordon Arbuckle Jr.                     (Iowa State University) 
  • CO-PD: Deb Bathke                                           (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
  • CO-PD: Trent Ford                                             (University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign)
  • CO-PD: Duane Friend                                       (University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign)
  • CO-PD: Tonya Haigh                                         (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
  • CO-PD: Beth Hall                                                (Purdue University)
  • CO-PD: Austin Pearson                                    (Purdue University)
  • CO-PD: Hans Schmitz                                       (Purdue University)
  • CO-PD: Aaron Thompson                               (Purdue University)
  • CO-PD: Amy Thompson                                  (Purdue University)
  • CO-PD: Melissa Widhalm                                (Purdue University)

Diverse Corn Belt*
Diversify Corn Belt project logo

*Funded through an USDA-NIFA Sustainable Agriculture Systems grant, this project is not part of the Extension-Climate Hub funding effort but aligns with and complements other regional projects.

The Diverse Corn Belt (DCB) Project explores opportunities beyond corn and soybeans and investigates the real world-impacts of diversified farming systems. DCB also provides environmentally and economically sustainable growth opportunities for farmers, communities, and markets to develop. 

Newly-transformed, and more diverse, agricultural systems will be capable of overcoming persistent market and policy barriers to support a transition to resilient intensification and a more economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable system.



  • Linda Prokopy                                   (Purdue University)
  • Emily Usher                                        (Purdue University)
  • J. Arbuckle                                          (Iowa State University)
  • Shalamar Armstrong                      (Purdue University)
  • Shadi Atallah
  • Megan Baskerville
  • Chris Boomsma
  • Sarah Church                                      (Montana State University)
  • Finnleigh Doherty
  • Christine Elliott                                  (Purdue University)
  • Lydia English
  • Kristin Floress                                     (USDA Forest Service)
  • Paige Frautschy                                  (The Nature Conservancy)              
  • Phil Gassman                                      (Environmental Scientist)
  • Ken Genskow
  • Benjamin Gramig                              (USDA-Economic Research Service)
  • Steve Hallett                                        (Purdue University)
  • Seth Harden                                         (The Nature Conservancy)
  • Emily Heaton                                       (University of Illinois)
  • Ryan Heiniger                                      (Conservation Technology Information Center)
  • Jason Hill                                               (University of Minnesota)
  • Natalie Hunt                                         (University of Minnesota)
  • Kris Johnson                                        (The Nature Conservancy)
  • Ian Kaplan                                             (Purdue University)
  • Paul Kelleher
  • Peter Lammers
  • Sarah LaRose                                        (Purdue University)
  • Andrew Margenot                               (University of Illinois)
  • Elizabeth Maynard                              (Purdue University)
  • David Mulla                                            (University of Minnesota)
  • Kaitlin Murphy
  • Callie North                                            (Conservation Technology Information Center)
  • Katherine Pivaral                                 (Purdue University)
  • Elizabeth Reaves
  • Yichao Rui                                               (Purdue University)
  • Keith Schilling                                       (University of Iowa)
  • Silvia Secchi
  • Aslihan Spaulding                               (Illinois State University)
  • Dr. Matthew Streeter                          (University of Iowa)
  • Aaron Thompson                                 (Purdue University)
  • Michael Tiboris
  • Ariana Torres                                         (Purdue University)
  • Rebecca Traldi                                      (Purdue University)
  • Camila Ulloa                                          (Purdue University)
  • Steve Werblow                                     (Conservation Technology Information Center)

Project Status