A Global Climate Change Conversation
Presentation and Panel Discussion
Observations, Perceptions, and the Reality of Climate Change from Around the World: A Focus on Agriculture and Food Systems
July 8th, 2014, 4:00-5:30
G10 Biotech Building
Open to the Cornell Community
Climate Change Panel Members:
- Dave Wolfe, Professor, Department of Horticulture, CALS, Cornell University
- Allison Chatrchyan, Director, Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture
- John Murphy, Vegetable and Wine Producer, New Zealand
- Joseph Leonard, Dairy Farmer, Ireland
- Paul Niven, Dairy Business Manager, Australia
- Moderator: Mike Hoffmann, Associate Dean, Director, CALS, Cornell University
The Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture is pleased to have two interns working on our team for this summer, Jacob Sackett and Rachel Erlebacher. Our interns will be working on a number of projects this summer with some highlights being our Climate Smart Farm Stories project, dairy heat stress project, and agricultural stakeholder assessment project.
The interns are already compiling lists of agricultural stakeholders in New York who will be tapped for future outreach and surveys. Over the course of the summer, our interns plan to visit farms and participate in Cornell Cooperative Extension meetings for outreach and to collect firsthand information from farmers about how climate change is affecting them and what steps they are taking to adapt. They will be helping prepare for a weird weather exhibit at Empire Farm Days.
Jacob is a rising senior in Cornell’s Agricultural Sciences program, concentrating in sustainability and minoring in business. Jacob is from Delhi, N.Y., a small, rural town in Central New York. He hopes to attend law school upon graduating from Cornell and has been interested in environmental science and climate change throughout his academic career.
This summer, Jacob will be based at the Climate Change and Agriculture Institute in Ithaca, working with researchers from Cornell’s Pro-Dairy program on a dairy heat stress literature review project, to lay the groundwork for development of a dairy cattle heat stress tool that will be used to help dairy farmers in a changing climate. Additionally, Jacob will be scheduling farm visits with local farmers in the Finger Lakes Region to discuss how climate change is affecting farming in the region and steps that farmers are taking to adapt to the changes that they are seeing.
Rachel is a rising junior in CALS, majoring in Environmental Science and Sustainability with a minor in Jewish Studies. Rachel is from Pleasant Valley, N.Y., a small town in Dutchess County. She is very excited to be working on climate change efforts in her hometown at the Cornell Cooperative Extension office in Dutchess County.
Rachel will be developing a statewide agricultural stakeholder list and preparing a literature review on farmers perceptions of climate change perceptions and adaptation, which will lay the groundwork for a stakeholder survey of farmers in New York later this year. She also will be interviewing and filming farmers in the Hudson Valley about how extreme weather and climate variability is affecting their operations and how they are adapting. The videos will be used for peer-to-peer outreach and education.
Learn more about the CCE Summer Internship Program.
Call for Proposals, July 2015
Finger Lakes Region, New York State
Paper proposals due November 1, 2014
This 3-day regional conference and trade show will feature a unique opportunity to learn about emerging dairy housing and manure management systems in conjunction with regional climate trends and adaptation strategies for the Northeast and upper mid-west U.S, and to visit the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York. The conference will feature multiple tour options showcasing on-farm integrated waste handling/treatment systems and on-farm climate adaptation strategies. The synergistic nature of these two topic areas is sure to expose creative solutions to the most pressing of today’s dairy environmental challenges. Tours of interest will also be organized for spouses and families.
Dairy producers and their advisors, extension educators, agribusiness professionals, dairy scientists, agricultural and environmental engineers, farm managers, financial advisors and lenders, agricultural economists, policymakers and regulatory agencies.
The main goals are to equip attendees with state-of-the-art knowledge on manure handling systems and climate adaptation strategies, as well as to explore the intrinsic connection between climate trends for the Northeastern U.S., on-farm adaptation strategies, and related dairy environmental management issues. A desired outcome is to facilitate the decision-making process for farmers with regards to climate adaptation. In addition, it is expected that both farm and non-farm audiences will be better enabled to understand and support emerging dairy environmental technologies in order to enhance farms’ economic and environmental sustainability.
For questions, and to submit an abstract, please contact:
Jennifer Pronto at email@example.com
Okra, peanuts, cotton and bananas are not exactly staple crops on Ithaca farms and home gardens. But as the world gets warmer, will there be a place for tropical varieties in New York state? And what will happen to current crops such as lettuce, radish and spinach?
Cornell researchers aim to find out by simulating potential climate change conditions under plastic.
A high tunnel – an unheated greenhouse covered by a single layer of clear polyethylene – is being erected at Cornell Plantations to house a climate change demonstration garden.
The high-temperature, controlled precipitation environment will be used by student and faculty researchers in the Departments of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture to research the effects of changing growing conditions on growth and survival of select plants, and potential adaptive solutions.
It will also be an educational tool for the 50,000 people who visit Plantations’ botanical gardens, arboretum and natural areas each year, said Sonja Skelly, Cornell Plantations director of education.
“It is an ideal location to mount such a demonstration, and we are excited to provide an additional opportunity for students and visitors to explore environmental issues through the lens of the garden,” Skelly said.
Read the whole article. [Cornell Chronicle 2014-05-29]
From Climate Change Is Already Here, Says Massive Government Report, Huff Post Politics, May 6, 2014
“Climate change is no longer a distant threat, but a real and present danger in the United States, according to a government report issued Tuesday.
“The report is the latest update from the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and details ways that climate change — caused predominantly by the emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gases — is already being felt across the country.
“‘Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,’ the report says in its introduction. …
“The report notes that American society and its infrastructure were built for the past climate — not the future. It highlights examples of the kinds of changes that state and local governments can make to become more resilient. One of the main takeaways, said David Wolfe, a professor of plant and soil ecology at Cornell University and a coauthor of the chapter on the Northeast, is that ‘you don’t want to look at the weather records of yesteryear to determine how to set up your infrastructure.’
“This report, said Wolfe, signals that the country is ‘beginning to move beyond the debate about whether climate change is real or not, and really getting down to rolling up our sleeves’ and addressing it.”
by Sheri Englund
Farmers, ranchers, and timber owners are on the front line of climate threats, including floods, droughts, fires, and invasive pests. Seven new regional climate hubs (see full-size version of image above) launched in February by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), are delivering resource management information to help them adapt to climate change and extreme weather.
Part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the climate hubs combine real-world and online networks to connect government agencies, universities, nongovernmental organizations, and other groups more effectively—while encouraging scientists, farmers, ranchers, and timber owners to communicate. The hubs are spread across the country to address each region’s specialty crops and climate risks and vulnerabilities. The northeastern hub is based in Durham, New Hampshire.
It may be that the climate hubs will play both defensive and offensive roles. For instance, northeastern farmers could start using “cover crops,” plants that are grown on farmland in the off season, says Michael Hoffmann, director of Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Such plants can protect against incoming pests, a side effect of climate change. But simply by growing, they also lock carbon in the soil, stopping it escaping into the atmosphere.
“Climate change is all hands on deck,” Hoffmann remarked. “We need all the partners we can get.”
Graduate student Kristy Perano takes data on a cow’s level of heat stress. (Lindsay France/University Photography)
The dog days of summer can be brutal for cows. When dairy cattle get too hot, it means reduced milk production, decreased reproductive activity and sometimes death – and for dairy farmers, lost income.
To help farmers keep cows cool, Cornell engineers are collaborating on a multidisciplinary research project supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) that could provide an alternative to the fans, misters, sprinklers and other heat mitigation strategies typically used.
Conductive cooling refers to heat transfer through direct contact between surfaces of different temperatures; the concept of conductively cooling cows was previously studied by Kelley Bastian, a former graduate student of Kifle Gebremedhin, professor of biological and environmental engineering. Kristy Perano, a current graduate student with Gebremedhin, is now developing and validating the concept further to determine whether conductive cooling with chilled mats underneath cows have measurable effects on their heat stress levels, milk production and overall health.
Read the whole article [Cornell Chronicle 2013-10-22]
Cornell University has started a center to help farmers adapt their operations to climate change.
The Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture will serve as a clearinghouse for research, climate monitoring, decision-support tools and applications at the intersection of climate and agriculture, the Cornell Chronicle reports.
One of the institute’s first steps will be to develop a website for disseminating and gathering information on farm-level impacts and trends, losses and gains from extreme weather and climate change, according to the university news site.
Allison M. Chatrchyan becomes the institute’s first director Sept. 1. Chatrchyan most recently served as environment and energy program leader with Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) in Dutchess County and as a member of CCE’s Statewide Energy and Climate Change Team.
See the full article in the Environmental Leader.
By Amanda Garris
For farmers, a warming climate challenges fundamental decisions they have always made based on the certainty of the weather – such as when to plant various crops, which varieties to choose or what investments in cooling or irrigation infrastructure would make the most economic sense. They will soon have a resource to help them navigate the changes: the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture. Allison M. Chatrchyan becomes its first director Sept. 1.
“The institute grew out of a very real need to help farmers adapt to the marked changes in our climate that are already underway,” said Mike Hoffmann, director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station. “Many current agricultural practices are based on long-standing assumptions about temperature and the length of the growing season that are no longer true.”
The institute will act as a clearinghouse for research, climate monitoring, decision‐support tools and applications at the intersection of climate and agriculture. An early step will be developing a website for disseminating and gathering information on farm-level impacts and trends, losses and gains resulting from warming and extreme weather.
See the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.