Event Announcements

Check it out: NCRC Science Justice Summer School

The Northwest Climate Resilience Collaborative, hosted at the UW Climate Impacts Group, is excited to launch our first-ever Science Justice Summer School. This two-week program for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will dive into a range of justice-related topics through lectures, discussion groups and more.  The Science Justice Summer School will run from July 10 to […]

Three students talking around a table in the trees

Exploring the Nexus of Solar Energy and Agriculture: How Do We Invest in Climate-Friendly Energy While Ensuring the Future of our Food Supply?

By Addie Candib and Chantel Welch, American Farmland Trust Given ambitious state and federal goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the pace of solar energy development is accelerating rapidly in the Pacific Northwest, placing significant pressure on the region’s agricultural land and its stewards. According to a US Department of Energy study, by 2050, 90% […]

Series of solar panels over bare ground

A Cornucopia of Opportunities for Domestic Produce

By David I. Gustafson, Adjunct Research Faculty at Washington State University This article is part of a series, Climate Friendly Fruit & Veggies, highlighting work from the Fruit & Vegetable Supply Chains: Climate Adaptation & Mitigation Opportunities (F&V CAMO) project, a collaborative research study co-led by investigators at the University of Florida and the Agriculture & Food […]

A pile of fresh vegetables, including carrots, potatoes, leafy greens and leeks

How will climate change affect pests of inland Pacific Northwest cereal systems?

By Karen Hills Models suggest that climate change in our region will involve an annual temperature increase of 3-4°F by the 2050’s, accompanied by changes in precipitation patterns, including drier summers despite a 5-15% increase in annual precipitation (Kruger et al. 2017). Even with this information, uncertainty still exists about what climate change will mean […]

Tillage– When Less Is More

By Karen Hills Though severe erosion can quickly deplete topsoil, rebuilding topsoil is an extremely difficult and slow process, so conserving this resource is imperative. Soil erosion is one of the biggest challenges in agricultural production in the inland Pacific Northwest. Conventional tillage can lead to soil degradation and erosion by wind and water, which […]

Diversification where it isn’t easy: Beyond the grain-fallow rotation

By Karen Hills Diversifying crop rotations is a key strategy used to break pest and disease cycles and improve yields. But in the driest areas of the Pacific Northwest the low precipitation amounts limit the diversification strategies that are feasible. These areas have some of the least diverse cropping systems in the region, often with […]

Welcome Rain

By Georgine Yorgey Reprinted from: WSU CSANR Perspectives on Sustainability Those of us who have been watching the drought conditions in the Yakima Watershed of Eastern Washington got a welcome bit of news on Wednesday: significant precipitation. Cliff Mass, from the University of Washington, did a nice job of summarizing the latest, and explaining why […]

Seattle Wins!

Geoduck (saltwater clam)

I am in Seattle this week attending the Waste to Worth conference. A great conference and a beautiful city!!

Part of the sponsorship of this conference is through this Animal Ag and Climate Change Project. As such, many of the lectures and keynotes have been highlighting the interconnectedness between climate and animal agriculture. (We are recording the sessions and even doing a little extra video taping of some of the key messages. I will let you know when they are available to all of you.)

Bottom line is that I have been surrounded by people (researchers, educators, technical service providers, and farmers) who, among other things, are very concerned about extreme variability in weather and the impacts of this variability on agriculture/livestock and poultry.

One presentation that hit home for me was a about sustainability by Marty Matlock (one of the keynote speakers). He said that scientists must focus more on communication rather than just presenting data, and that this communication needs to start with finding shared values with our audience. I think we all intuitively know this but we don’t always do what we know is best. As scientists we present the our data – expecting the “truth” of our data to be enough to change behaviors or opinions.

Some values I think we all share are food security, water availability and profitability in farming. If in our conversation with others we begin finding these shared values – and some specifics of these values based on local issues, farm types, etc. we can then have a very positive dialogue on what kinds of things we all can all do to protect these shared values. We each bring ideas (and data) to the table and find solutions.

Such a conversation might lead to a discussion about reducing water use, reducing energy, reducing production risks, or increasing farm efficiencies. All of these “solutions” offer positive economics to the farmers or community members. And by the way, these same solutions may also reduce the carbon and environmental footprint of agriculture.

Here is another little piece of trivia from the conference. There was an optional tour for the attendees that went to the Taylor Shellfish Farms in the Samish Bay area near Seattle to check out some of the pollution issues in the Bay area. I did not attend the tour but saw some awesome photos of geoducks (saltwater clams) and learned that the farming of these clams was nearly eliminated due to a change in ocean pH – going from 8.2 to 8.1. This was just a good reminder to me how sensitive our natural ecosystems are. In the natural ecosystem, small changes can have big impacts.

Thanks Seattle!!

Always Considering Climate — David

David Schmidt MS. PE is a researcher and educator in the Department of Bioproducts and Bioysystems Engineering at the University of Minnesota and regional project coordinator for the project Animal Agriculture in a Changing Climate, a national project of the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center and funded by the USDA National

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