Changes in climate and extreme weather are already increasing challenges for agriculture.
This technical bulletin was developed specifically to meet the unique needs of agricultural producers, and provide educators and service providers in the Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States with information and resources to help farmers increase their resilience to weather extremes and a changing climate. It provides a flexible, structured, and self-guided process to identify and assess climate change impacts, challenges, opportunities, and farm-level adaptation tactics for improving responses to extreme and uncertain conditions.
A team of authors from the Agriculture Research Service, the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service worked together to assemble the report. Educators, conservationists, and climate, agricultural, and forestry scientists participated in workshops to test the concepts, translate them into easy-to-use worksheets, and develop real-world examples.
A synthesis of adaptation strategies and approaches serves as a “menu” of potential responses that are organized to provide a clear rationale for making decisions by connecting planned actions to broad adaptation concepts. Responses address both short- and long-range timeframes and extend from incremental adjustments of existing practices to major alterations that transform the entire farm operation. Example adaptation tactics (prescriptive actions for agricultural production systems common in the region) guide producers, service providers, and educators to develop appropriate individual responses for their farms and location. The workbook includes four examples of typical farming systems. These include three examples from the Midwest (dryland farming in Nebraska, corn and soybean production in Iowa, small holder beef grazing and forestry in Missouri), and a confined dairy operation in Pennsylvania. Together these give real-world perspectives on addressing the challenges and opportunities of climate change.