6.2 If we build it, will they come?: Incorporating survey results of the agricultural community into climate-based decision support tools

Tuesday, 8 January 2013: 3:45 PM
Room 19A (Austin Convention Center)
Linda Prokopy, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN; and M. Widhalm, J. R. Angel, T. Haigh, A. S. Mase, and D. P. Todey

When used by farmers and their advisors, climate-based decision support tools can reduce uncertainty and risks in the planning, operation, and management decisions of the farm enterprise. However, little is known about whether the agricultural community is willing to use such tools, their information needs, or their ability to incorporate this knowledge into existing decision processes. Furthermore, it is unclear how climate change risks and impacts are perceived, and if farmers have the ability to adapt to more variable conditions.

Useful to Usable (U2U): Transforming Climate Variability and Change Information for Cereal Crop Producers is a USDA-funded research and extension project focused on delivering to producers and farm advisors the resources and training they need to more effectively manage variable climate conditions. Achieving this goal requires an interdisciplinary effort with ongoing stakeholder engagement at its core. U2U social scientists use a variety of techniques including surveys, focus groups, and network analysis to integrate stakeholder needs, concerns, and abilities into the design of tools and resource materials.

This presentation will discuss results from two unprecedented survey efforts conducted in 2012, and its implications for decision tool development and dissemination. Over 18,000 corn producers in 22 HUC6 watersheds across the Corn Belt and about 8,000 agricultural advisors in four states (IA, IL, IN, and MI) were surveyed. Advisor groups sampled include extension personnel, crop consultants, bankers, agro-business retailers, crop/farm associations, conservation groups, and government agencies. Producers and advisors were asked about the type and timing of farm management practices, the role and use of climate information in decision making, risk management beliefs and strategies, climate change concerns and beliefs, and influential information sources.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner