chapter  12
University Extension Communities of Practice
Learning, Communicating and Engaging with Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in the United States Corn Belt
WithGabrielle Roesch-McNally, J. Arbuckle, Jamie Benning, Lois Wright Morton, Adam Wilke
Pages 15

Extension, as a community of practice, has a very important role to play in assisting farmers in responding to the challenge of climate change. Through the implementation of a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture funded project, Extension educators in the U.S. Midwest worked together with social and biophysical scientists to engage in research and outreach efforts with farmers. These findings, along with Extension educators’ experiences conducting outreach and Extension efforts, helped to shape recommendations for how to improve agricultural Extension’s efforts to incorporate climate change information into programming, which includes: (1) shift from a focus on the term “climate change” towards an emphasis on reducing weather related risks associated with more extreme and variable weather; (2) emphasize actions farmers can take to adapt to more extreme and variable weather on their farm; (3) explore topics of soil and water conservation as a way to link purposefully climate resiliency with improved management practices; and (4) work closely with scientists to develop continuous communication feedback loops between scientific findings and local knowledge, experience and information needs. Recommendations are intended to assist the Extension community in developing programming that will effectively engage agricultural stakeholders in efforts to reduce vulnerability to climate change.