Purdue University Spearheads $1.5M Climate Change Partnership with USDA Midwest Climate Hub

Purdue University Spearheads $1.5M Climate Change Partnership with USDA Midwest Climate Hub

To aid farmers and landowners in avoiding the worst effects of climate change, Purdue University is leading a $1.5 million partnership, Integrated Midwest Partnerships for Actionable Climate Tools and Training (IMPACT2), with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Midwest Climate Hub. The project is set to impact highly diverse agricultural communities in Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa.

The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture funds IMPACT2, with Purdue collaborating with Iowa State University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

IMPACT2 will bolster the USDA-funded Diverse Corn Belt Project, launched by Purdue in 2021. This $10 million project investigates how diversifying crop production will bolster the resilience of Midwest farms and farmers to climate change and other agricultural challenges.

Linda Prokopy, the co-leader of IMPACT2 and head of Purdue’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, cautioned that projections show that corn yields may decrease with rising temperatures. “Midwest agriculture faces both near- and long-term issues due to more extreme weather brought on by a changing climate,” she said.

IMPACT2 co-leader Dennis Todey, director of USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub, emphasized the importance of adapting agriculture swiftly to changing conditions and the necessity to limit further issues, otherwise known as the mitigation part. “Agriculture can sequester greenhouse gases to make itself further resilient to coming climate changes. How do we prepare for, help mitigate and reduce some potential longer-term issues?” Todey questioned.

The IMPACT2 project aims to answer these questions by reaching a broad audience across the Corn Belt, including conventional row-crop farmers, urban farmers, and small-scale horticultural farmers.

The IMPACT2 team will offer scenario-based activities to various Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa stakeholders to help them envision different futures. The goal is to reach at least 2,000 stakeholders through an online portal and deliver training to 500 or more farmer producers and landowners.

The IMPACT2 team draws upon the experience of a multi-disciplinary group that includes social scientists, climatologists, and experts from other fields, many of whom previously worked together on the Useful to Usable (U2U) project from 2012 to 2018. This project, which developed decision-support tools for corn farmers to adapt to climate change, proved highly successful, and its tools continue to be in use today.

The project also draws on the expertise of multiple university-based co-leaders and specialists, including Trent Ford, the Illinois state climatologist; Duane Friend, state master naturalist and climate change specialist at Illinois Extension; and several Purdue co-leaders. These experts will provide invaluable support to the project, helping to connect IMPACT2 with diverse farmers and the broader agricultural community.

Image provided by Purdue University

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