Climate Smart Farming
The Cornell Climate Smart Farming (CSF) Program focuses specifically on developing agricultural decision support tools (DSTs) and resources to help farmers better manage the risks of climate change. The Climate Smart Farming website serves as an interactive platform that integrates climate information in order to support decision-making at a farm or agricultural-system scale within a specific region.
In creating these tools, the CSF program collaborated closely with the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) at Cornell University, part of the RCC Program administered by NOAA in the United States. The tools rely on the NRCC-led data through the Applied Climate Information System (ACIS), which is an operational system that provides access to climate data and products to users via web services, and is replicated at multiple RCCs throughout the country. The CSF Tools also utilize daily temperature observations from the National Weather Service (NWS) Cooperative Observer Network, and daily precipitation derived from NWS radar data. These data are interpolated to a 4km X 4km grid, which allows farmers in the region to access accurate information for their farm via the CSF DSTs, even if there is not a government-operated or private weather station near their site.
Utilize the CSF Tools: www.climatesmartfarming.org
This Climate Smart Farming toolkit, developed by the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions (CICSS), was designed to help farmers around the Northeast improve their productivity and resiliency in the face of a changing climate. The climate smart farming tools can be used in response to a variety of climate-related impacts including drought, seasonal shifts, and extreme precipitation. In addition to tools developed by the CICSS team, there are also a number of links to tools produced by other organization such as NOAA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Many of these tools are focused on planning ahead for potential extreme weather events. Using these tools on a consistent basis will help farmers determine when is the best time for planting, irrigating, harvesting, and many other necessary actions. Some of the tools developed by the CICSS team allow you to select your location in order to receive the most local and relevant data. These include the Growing Degree Day Calculator, Winter Cover Crop Planting Scheduler, Water Deficit Calculator, and Freeze Risk Probability (for apples and grapes).
These tools are designed to help farmers implement best management practices through sustainable, resilient agriculture. Best management practices have the capacity to benefit farmers and the environment simultaneously. Taking steps like reducing greenhouse gas emissions and boosting productivity come with many financial and operational plus sides. By using these tools, farmers around the Northeast will be better prepared to handle climate-related risks. Developing climate smart practices now will lead to new opportunities for farmers and a potential for growth into the future.
Our popular tools are regularly used by farmers and Extension Educators in the Northeastern United States and have started to receive international attention. We also create the first Climate Smart Farming Extension Team in New York State, to help farmers with strategies to address flooding, soil health, using decision tools, and heat stress.
Read our Spring 2018 CSF Update.
Utilize the CSF Tools at: www.climatesmartfarming.org.
Gardening in a Warming World
Cornell’s experts in horticulture and gardening have put together comprehensive materials to help Master Gardener Volunteers and gardening enthusiasts adapt their gardens for the changing climate.
These valuable resources are available for anyone interested in learning more about the impacts of climate change on gardens:
- Gardening in a Warming World: Course Book from Cornell Cooperative Extension (36 pages), a facilitator’s notebook and presentation.
- Advice to Gardeners from a Climate Change Expert, in Verdant Views, Cornell Plantations magazine (see page 13). Wolfe, D. (2012).
- Gardening Sustainably with a Changing Climate. In The New American Landscape: Leading Voices on the Future of Sustainable Gardening. Wolfe, D (2011). ed. Thomas Christopher. Portland, Or: Timber Press, a publication of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.Climate Change in the Garden: an exciting model of youth community action in the garden. This site offers examples of how youth and their community members can get in monitoring, adapting, and mitigating climate change in the garden.
- Cornell Botanic Gardens – Shrink your Garden’s Climate Footprint
- Arbor Day Foundation – Information about Climate Change, planting tress, and plant hardiness zones.
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden – The Climate Conscious Gardener. This step-by-step guide to offsetting climate change through gardens and landscaping explains what happens when the atmospheric balance of carbon and nitrogen goes awry, and how plants, soil, and synthetic gardening aids (such as fertilizer and pesticides) affect climate (2010).
- Project BudBurst – Project BudburstSM: is co-managed by the National Ecological Observatory Network, Inc. and the Chicago Botanic Garden.
- Union of Concerned Scientists – The Climate-Friendly Gardener: A Guide to Combating Global Warming from the Ground Up.
- US Department of Agriculture – Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
- US Environmental Protection Agency – Greenscaping: The easier way to a greener, healthier yard (2005).
Contact Lori Brewer, Sr. Extension Associate in Horticulture at Cornell University, for more information on the Gardening in a Warming World Program.