North Central Climate Collaborative (NC3)

The North Central Climate Collaborative is made up of Extension professionals across the region who are dedicated to increasing the adoption of climate-smart practices and improving water management while maintaining profitability.

Save the Date!

The North Central Climate Collaborative is hosting two climate workshops in the fall and winter of 2018.

Northern Great Plains Climate Workshop
October 9-11, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Changes in climate are causing more extreme weather events and shifting crops, cropping seasons, and plant hardiness zones. As educators, conservation professionals, natural resource managers, and outreach professionals in the Great Plains, we need to be able to recommend management practices that respond to these changes and support the success and resiliency of the clientele we engage. The North Central Climate Collaborative is hosting a Climate Workshop filled with climate information and climate-smart tips and tools you can use.


Workshop topics include:
Climate tools and applications
Ag, community, youth and tribal presentations
Climate communication strategies
Take-home climate information applications

Great Lakes Big Rivers Climate Workshop
December 11, Indianapolis, Indiana

A workshop to help educators, conservation professionals, natural resource managers, and outreach professionals recommend management practices that respond to changes in climate.

Workshop topics include:
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Community Development
Human Health
Youth Engagement in Climate
Communicating about Climate

This workshop is a part of the North Central Region One Water Action Forum.

More details on both workshops are coming soon!

In addition to their regional climate workshops, NC3 is also hosting bimonthly webinars on climate, water, and agriculture throughout 2018.

Upcoming Webinar:

The Impact of Wind Energy on Rural Communities
Monday, August 27, 2018, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT
Sarah Mills, Senior Project Manager at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

For the past six years, Sarah Mills has been studying how wind energy has impacted rural Michigan communities and the people that that live in those communities.  For this webinar, Mills will present data from surveys of 3,200+ landowners in 10 Michigan townships with windfarms to provide insight on the effects of wind turbines on local communities — not just on how the landscape looks, but the effects of wind turbines on farm incomes, local government services, and relationships with neighbors.  She will also discuss the advice  she shares with communities that are considering hosting wind turbines, and the extent to which the lessons from Michigan can apply throughout the region.



Miss the June webinar on climate and soil? View the recording here. The webinar featured Tonya Haigh, Rural Sociologist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who  discussed the climate information’s influence on farm decision-making.  You can view all past NC3 webinars on the North Central Region Water Network YouTube Channel.

Want to stay informed of NC3 events? Email to join the NC3 email list and receive announcements on all upcoming NC3 programming.

Project Background

Our climate is changing and changes in climate have been a defining factor in agriculture and water quality within the North Central Region. Extreme weather events have the capacity to drastically impact our waterways, and climate variability creates shifts in crops, cropping seasons, and plant hardiness zones. Moreover, the farm management practices that coincide with these changes greatly influence water quality and management.

Extension professionals play a key role in supporting farmers by providing education, resources, and research to strengthen decision-making. Changes in climate continue to present challenges for both farmers and extension professionals alike and research shows that both groups need additional education on climate science and guidance on climate change adaptation practices.

This research highlights the need within extension to build core competencies in the area of climate science, climate change, and its impacts on agriculture in order for educators to engage farmers in discussing the realities of a changing climate and the adaptation strategies that need to be employed to ensure success.


The North Central Climate Collaborative (NC3) is comprised of individuals with expertise in climate science, agronomy, stormwater management, and other disciplines, and is working to increase the flow and usability of climate information for extension, farmers and farm advisors. The team is working to increase the adoption of climate-smart practices, improving water management, while maintaining profitability.

Specifically, NC3 aims to serve as points of contact with each state/land-grant university on climate change and adaptation, provide climate-related professional development opportunities to extension personnel, and organize and train peers and front-line professionals in climate change topics that affect agriculture and natural resources.

Progress Made

Since the North Central Climate Collaborative formed in 2015, the team has made substantial progress toward their goals. To date the NC3 team has:

  • Convened as a group to set research, outreach and resource priorities.
  • Produced a regional needs assessment summarizing current extension expertise on meteorology and climatology and addressing current climate education issues.
  • Initiated a dialogue with the US Drought Monitor (USDM) and other partners allowing strategic information to be shared linking Extension personnel, the National Agricultural Statistics Service, and USDM.
  • Developed six webinars exploring the connection between climate, agriculture, and water resources. Three months following the final webinar 100% of survey respondents noted an increase in understanding of how climate change could affect water quality and quantity in the region. The webinars have been viewed by nearly 300 individuals to date.
  • Held three webinars on climate-related tools and resources, including Midwest Regional Climate Center tools, grain storage calculations, the Drought Impact Reporter, and the Community Collaborative Rain and the Snow and Hail Network.
  • Established partnerships with the USDA Climate Hubs and Drought Early Warning Systems, in both the Missouri River Basin and Midwest Region to broaden the team’s reach and success

Moving Forward

Looking towards 2018 and 2019, NC3 is dedicated to providing professional development for extension professionals through a variety of methods including:

  • Sub-regional workshops to further integrate research and extension and assist in addressing water, climate and agriculture topics specific to local areas
  • Bi-monthly webinars to broaden awareness and understanding of climate-related issues and potential solutions in the research and extension community
  • Videos demonstrating the utility of the successful Useful to Usable decision-support tools
  • Providing financial support for local education and extension programming including field days, demonstration projects, workshops, and farmer-led groups

How Can You Help?

To continue on their path to ensuring adequate education and professional development for extension professionals on climate-related topics, the NC3 team would like to ask for your help. To get involved, you can:

  • Join the NC3 listerv and mailing list to find out about new professional development opportunities and help grow NC3 participation in the extension community
  • Attend NC3 webinars or workshops to learn the complex connections between water, climate and agriculture and how to address these issues within the agricultural community moving forward
  • Apply for funding from the NC3 for a local initiative helping to educate and motivate key decision makers to adopt of climate-smart practices improving water management
  • Share NC3 information within your professional network to help increase the team’s impact and ensure extension educators, farmers, and farm advisors have access to vital climate resources


Laura Edwards, South Dakota State University

Kathy Gehl, Kansas State University

Access the NC3 factsheet here.