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Supporting climate-informed agricultural programming at Extension

A team of Extension personnel across five states, in partnership with the USDA Midwest Climate Hub, is working to better understand opportunities and barriers for climate-informed agricultural programming at Extension across the Midwest. The project, Climate Ready Midwest, aims to define what “climate-smart agriculture” means to the Midwestern Extension agricultural community and empower Extension to lead climate-informed agricultural programming across the Midwest.

What is climate-informed agricultural programming? It’s the incorporation of an advanced understanding of how climate is changing across the Midwest and how agricultural systems can adapt to and help mitigate those changes.

The first step in the project is working to understand the conditions – in this case, understanding what currently enables or prevents Extension personnel from integrating climate information into agricultural programming. From this, the team will illustrate how Extension institutions can create conditions where climate-informed programming is enabled. This team is working with all Extension types – 1862, 1890, and 1994 institutions – on distinct iterations of this process.

So far, the work has raised many important questions, such as: How should Extension prepare to meet the demands of the agricultural community as we consider climate change? What changes need to happen at Extension to meet those needs? What critical things are happening at Extension that will need to be carried through?

You can follow along with current and future project work.

“Climate Ready Midwest will be looking for producer stories and providing agricultural producer resources in the next steps of the grant activities,” says Hans Schmitz, Purdue Extension’s lead conservation cropping systems agronomist.

Some of the resources and tools that the team is building, refining, and/or expanding include:

  • Michigan State’s Climate Ready Farm Assessment. This is an online assessment tool for farmers to better understand their farms’ preparedness for weather and climate-related issues and provide stories from other producers on how they are implementing climate-smart practices.
  • A climate-informed carbon management and sequestration and net-zero emissions agriculture training curricula to be piloted by the Ohio State University Extension.
  • A science engagement board to assimilate Midwest Climate Hub research and information into Extension programming.

Climate Ready Midwest will add regular blog posts to its webpage to share progress and project deliverables. Sign up to be notified about future blog posts here!

If you are interested in learning more or finding ways to participate, please contact the project manager, Alli Parrish, at or the project director, Aaron Wilson, at

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