This summer has been very active for the Network’s climate team – the North Central Climate Collaborative, or NC3. The team has been busy hosting climate education programs for extension professionals, producers, state and federal agency staff, local government officials and non-profit professionals.
Earlier this summer, Aaron Wilson, Climate Specialist with Ohio Extension and member of NC3, helped host a climate smart workshop for producers. The workshop brought over 120 producers across the state together to discuss Ohio’s changing climate, the risk to price and production, and different strategies for managing water in extremes. Tyler Williams, Cropping System Educator with Nebraska Extension and fellow NC3 member, served as the keynote speaker for the event where he discussed the spring 2019 flooding in Nebraska and how Nebraska producers, like many others across the region, are having to learn how to farm with weather extremes.
Overall, evaluation results show that producers found value in the event. Two-thirds of producers who attended noted they were ‘extremely likely’ or ‘likely’ to make changes in their farming operation as a result and 98% thought the meeting was ‘extremely’, ‘very’, or ‘moderately’ worth their time.
Earlier this month, Kansas followed suit hosting a Climate Summit for federal and state agency staff, local government officials, non-profit personnel and extension staff across the state. The event was organized by NC3 member and Kansas State Research and Extension Service Climatologist Mary Knapp, together with the High Plains Regional Climate Center and NWS Central Regional Headquarters. The event shared National Weather Service climate focal points with representatives of various sectors across the state, to increase understanding of climate data needs and current gaps in information and delivery. Through the meeting, National Weather Service staff learned how to locate and connect with their local extension offices and together the group developed a process for integrated drought updates across the state. Preliminary evaluation results from the event show that 67% of attendees were ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ likely to make changes in their programming or recommendations as a result of attending.
In addition to the state-level events, the NC3 group as a whole recently held a climate super-session at the National Association for County Agricultural Agents annual meeting in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The event overviewed a number of climate and weather related tools and applications extension educators could use and allowed attendees to weigh in on who they trust when it comes to climate information, what resources they find useful when it comes to climate risk management, and what gaps in resources limit their ability to consult on climate-related topics with producers. Two of the session organizers, Julie Doll of Michigan State University and Laura Lengnick of Cultivating Resilience LLC, plan to take what they heard at the session and publish a report or peer reviewed publication on their findings.
While all three educational events focused on different audiences and had different purposes – from listening and learning from educators and providing practical tools and recommendations to producers, to increasing understanding and connectivity around state-level climate programming – all three events are examples of NC3’s mission of increasing the flow and usability of climate information.
The team continues climate educational efforts through their ongoing webinar series. Their next webinar is scheduled for Monday, October 28th at 1pm CT and will feature Daren Mueller of Iowa State University, discussing the impact of climate change on field crop diseases.
More information on NC3, the upcoming webinar, and past educational events can be found on at https://northcentralclimate.org/.