How the 2012 drought affected agricultural advisors' climate risk perceptions and climate changes beliefs

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Thursday, 6 February 2014: 9:00 AM
Room C107 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Melissa Widhalm, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; and J. Andresen, J. R. Angel, S. Carlton, T. Haigh, L. S. Prokopy, and D. P. Todey

Weather and climate patterns are a driving force behind the success or failure of cropping systems, making agricultural production highly vulnerable to a variable and changing climate. However, empirical evidence suggests that neither farmers nor their advisors are taking proactive steps to adapt to climate change. One recurring question in the literature is whether and how the experience of an extreme climate event affects individuals' perceptions of risk and willingness to adapt to climate change.

The extreme drought in the Midwestern United States Corn Belt in 2012 offered a unique opportunity to investigate this question. Over 2,000 agricultural advisors responded to a climate assessment survey prior to the 2012 drought as part of the USDA-funded Useful to Usable project. This survey was repeated in the spring of 2013 with additional questions about the 2012 drought to create a longitudinal dataset. In this talk, we discuss how the 2012 drought changed advisors' perceptions of climate risks, beliefs about the existence and/or causes of climate change, and willingness to respond to climate change.