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NIFA Awards $4.5 Million to Northern Plains Climate Hub and Outreach Partners for Native Climate, Climate-Smart Agriculture, and Insurable Weather

USDA NIFA Extension, Education, and USDA Climate Hubs Partnership Projects in the Northern Plains

Native Climate: Supporting climate adaptation in Native communities

Led by the Desert Research Institute, the Native Climate project aims to strengthen climate resilience in agroecosystems on working lands in Native American communities. Through collaboration with partner organizations and Native American natural resource, agriculture, and climate leaders, two-way communication supports the flow of traditional knowledge of climate adaptation as well as climate information. The project also provides support for building capacity in three ways: 1) identifying climate needs of Native American farmers and ranchers; 2) enhancing climate monitoring on Tribal lands; and 3) co-developing climate-based curricula with Native educators. The Northern Plains and Southwest USDA Climate Hubs are collaborators on the five-year Native Climate project, providing science-based information about climate adaptation strategies and resources to Native agricultural producers, educators, and natural resources managers to enhance climate resiliency.


Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP), University of Nevada-Reno Tribal Extension, University of Montana, Montana State University, University of Arizona Extension, and USDA Northern Plains and Southwest Climate Hubs


USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture - Extension, Education, and USDA Climate Hubs Partnership (Grant Number 2022-68015-36357). This work is built on the work of other NIFA-funded projects, including Native Waters on Arid Land (Grant Number 2015-69007-23190), NWAL Toolkit (Grant Number 2020-6808-32762), All Climate is Local (Grant Number 2021-67019-33420), and Teaching Native Waters (Grant Number 2020-38503-31952).

The Prairie Hub Project: Promoting climate-smart agricultural practices across the Great Plains

Over the last 100 years, herbaceous-to-wood plant community transformations in the North American Great Plains have increased rapidly. On a local and continental scale, woody plant encroachment impacts grassland production, hydrology, nutrient cycling, and biodiversity - all of which greatly impact pastoral societies and communities that depend on livestock production. The Prairie Project, and its newly funded spin-off known as the Prairie Hub Project, brings collaborators across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska together to study, apply, and share current research and management practices to combat woody plant encroachment and increasing wildfire in the face of changes in climate patterns and extreme weather. Within the Prairie Hub Project, partners in extension and education strive to share evidence-based information about sustainable rangeland production systems, including best management practices such a pyric herbivory, and co-develop climate and rangelands education curriculum with teachers in rural and urban areas. This project launched in May 2023 and will complete by April 2028.


Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension, Oklahoma State University, University of Nebraska, and USDA Northern Plains and Southern Plains Climate Hubs


USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture - Extension, Education, & USDA Climate Hubs Partnership (Grant Number 2023-68014-39530). This work is built on that of the Prairie Project, which was funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture - Sustainable Agricultural Systems (Grant Number 12726253).

Ag Risk: Assisting farmers and ranchers with insurable weather and climate risks in the Southwest and Northern Plains

In 2020, the farmers and ranchers in the states representing the Southwest and Northern Plains Climate Hubs suffered insured crop losses of $2.6 billion dollars. Weather caused most of the insured causes of loss in these two regions, and long-range trends of such losses have been increasing. These trends may increase further because of a changing climate. Therefore, the goal of this project is to collaboratively develop improved educational and outreach materials, and approaches to help farmers and ranchers more easily assess weather and climate-related sources of crop and livestock production losses. These materials and approaches will be shared with key extension partners and stakeholder groups to expand the project's reach and impact. In so doing, the project strives to assist farmers and ranchers, and those who serve them, to better adapt to extreme weather variability and climate change. This five-year project was initiated in January 2022.


Montana State University, National Center for Appropriate Technology, University of California Davis, JG Research and Evaluation, USDA Southwest and Northern Plains Climate Hubs


USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture - Extension, Education, and USDA Climate Hubs Partnership (Grant Number 2022-69014-36369).

For more information about these projects, as well as other projects funded by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative to strengthen relationships between Extension and USDA's Climate Hubs, visit the National Institute of Food and Agriculture website.