Non Technical Summary
Climate change threatens the viability of agriculture in the Midwestern US where current cropping systems are not expected to thrive in the future. The goal of the 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. In the first of three inter-related objectives, our interdisciplinary and cross-organizational team will engage diverse producers and advisers in scenario-based visioning sessions held in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. These visioning sessions will create a shared view of the future and help the IMPACT2 team understand stakeholder needs for information related to climate-smart agriculture. In our second objective, this information will be used to develop a menu-based resource portal and educator guides. This resource portal will provide a consistent and usable starting point for stakeholders interested in Climate Smart information, strategies, and recommendations. In our third objective, we will buildout and implement Extension training materials for climate-smart agriculture. Ultimately, through participatory design and ongoing feedback, we will create a usable online portal that will be used by at least 2000 stakeholders and we will deliver trainings to a minimum of 500 agricultural stakeholders. Our efforts will continue beyond the 3 years of funding through train-the-trainer sessions and institutional support for the tool.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories
Goals / Objectives
Through iterative visioning sessions, portal development, and training, the IMPACT2 Team proposes to empower Extension educators, agricultural advisers, and producers to help address existing cultural and educational barriers for an immediate goal of having Corn Belt producers ready to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of a changing climate through system transformation. To build regional resiliency, it will be critical to engage with stakeholders to identify specific information needs and to define climate-optimal systems. Focusing on the three core states of the Corn Belt--Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa--our Integrated Midwest Partnerships for Actionable Climate Tools and Training (IMPACT2) Team will address our goal through the following three measurable objectives in a three-year Extension project: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
The approach of IMPACT2 is based on the understanding that useful and usable knowledge is "co-produced" with--and benefits--those who are traditionally viewed as receivers of knowledge.We will initiate the co-production process in Objective 1 before finalizing any decisions in Objectives 2 and 3; We will continue this co-production process in Objectives 2 and 3 as we will constantly gather input from end-users to ensure we are successfully delivering information that stakeholders want and need in a way that can inform their own practices.Our stakeholder-centered participatory program design in Objective 1 will convene scenario-based visioning sessions in Year 1 and Year 2 to co-produce future shared visions for Climate-Smart alternative agricultural systems and gather input for Objective 2.The visioning sessions will bring 20-40 representatives of heterogeneous groups together for two to three sessions in each state (IN, IL, IA, for a total of 6-8 total sessions). At least 25% of sessions will be held online to facilitate participation from diverse groups. Participants will include row crop and specialty crop producers; small, medium, and large-scale farmers; beginning and experienced farmers; minority- and women-owned operations, owner-operator and rented-land operators; and advisers and subject experts such as retail agronomists, in addition to climate scientists from the IMPACT2 team. Each stakeholder brings unique knowledge and diverse perspectives that will be essential to the visioning of Midwestern Climate-Smart Agriculture. Exploration of future alternative agricultural systems requires the engagement and creative thinking of land managers and advisers, and we will give careful attention to both how we invite participants and how we solicit input.Objective 2 is targeted at the RFA goal to expand "USDA Climate Hub capacity to serve as a 'climate clearinghouse' of tools and technologies for region-specific stakeholder needs." This objective will truly transform the Midwest Climate Hub into a gateway to useful and usable information and resources for producers, advisers, Extension personnel, and other relevant stakeholders to help them understand the potential risks and impacts of climate change and the need to transform their agricultural operations for long-term resilience.We will develop an online, menu-based system (e.g., existing tools, literature, case studies of farmers, curriculum exercises) where producers, educators, and advisers can filter down to their relevant needs and interests to review possible practices and learn more about their likely effectiveness under current and future conditions. These may include crops, conservation practices, and possibly other topics. IMPACT2 staff experts from the region will develop summary information about practices and additional content as needed for this resource portal. The team will also include within the portal relevant ag-climate data and information on past and future climate conditions. We will also map the proliferation of new Climate-Smart Agriculture funding sources so farmers can easily identify pathways to financial support for changing practices. We will develop educator guides to provide lesson plan ideas, learning objectives, and interactive activities pertaining to Climate-Smart Agriculture practices, tools, and resources.In Objective 3, IMPACT2 will develop acurriculum with clear learning goals and objectives utilizing available resources and tools concerning potential topics of climate change basics, impacts on agriculture, crop suitability, and adoption of agricultural diversification. As with resource development in Objective 2, curriculum development will include robust communication of uncertainty associated with possible climate change scenarios, impacts, and management practice adoption. The curriculum will include direct discussion of uncertainty via ranges, likelihoods, and verbal qualifying statements (i.e., "likely", "very likely", "unlikely", etc.). We will package the curriculum so it is easy to implement off the shelf and include, for example, a facilitator's guide with information about program implementation, PowerPoint files with annotations, marketing materials (flyers, news release templates, etc.), and evaluation materials. The team will establish two pilot programs for agricultural producers and advisers where the curriculum will be tested and evaluated using formative and summative evaluation techniques. Every effort will be made to ensure a diversity of participants in these pilotsto ensure the program works across demographic and farm characteristics. Curriculum revisions will be conducted based on the formative evaluation results. Facilitators will be recruited to participate in a train-the-trainer program to enhance program rollout.