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All About Weather

The climate is changing; here’s how we’re helping the agriculture industry

rows of flooded young corn stalks

Growing seasons are shifting — storms, floods, droughts, and wildfires are becoming more common. As the climate changes, we at Extension are working to meet the new challenges facing agriculture.

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

So, what is climate-informed agricultural programming? We look at this as educational outreach and engagement with agricultural communities incorporate an understanding of how climate is changing across the Midwest and how agricultural systems and producers can adapt to and help mitigate those changes.

The first step of the Climate Read Midwest project is to better understand what encourages or prevents Extension personnel from adding climate information into agricultural programs. This process is already underway with interviews and workshops with Extension staff across the region, including University of Illinois. This will allow the team to determine how Extension staff can enable climate-informed programming at their institution.

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

These efforts are happening while the team builds, refines, and expands resources and tools such as:

  • Michigan State’s Climate Ready Farm Assessment. This is an online 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 Ohio State University Extension. 
  • A science engagement board will assimilate Midwest Climate Hub research and information into Extension programming.

To follow along with the project and get updates, subscribe to Climate Ready Midwest’s email newsletter list.

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

Are you interested in learning how to weather a changing climate on your Illinois farm now and in the future? Sign up for a Agriculture Climate Tools Workshop this February.

About the Blog

All About Weather is a blog by Duane Friend that explores the environment, climate, and weather topics for Illinois. Get in-depth information about things your weather app doesn't cover, from summer droughts to shifting weather patterns. Never miss a new post! Sign up for our email list.

This guest post was written by Alli Parrish, Natural Resources Institute University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension. She manages a multi-state effort to evaluate Extension's capacity for climate-smart agriculture programming across the Midwest.