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Research Project: Accelerating Climate Strategies to Support Climate Adaptation, Decision Support, Carbon Neutrality and Co-benefits

Location: Sustainable Agricultural Water Systems Research

Project Number: 2032-12610-001-006-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2020
End Date: Sep 30, 2022

1. Develop a framework for holding agricultural stakeholder roundtables, including the development of surveys and dialogue feedback worksheets, that can be applied across multiple California agricultural regions and sectors. The framework will reflect the two-way nature of the roundtable events, wherein producers will provide USDA with valuable information for driving future investments, and USDA will provide producers an opportunity and forum to share their concerns and needs and a compendium of resources available to support their climate response efforts. 2. Develop and submit an application from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to solicit and obtain data from human subjects that reflects the scientific rigor for peer reviewed publication. 3. Conduct and report on survey responses and lessons learned from dialogues. The report will reflect the current concerns and adaptive approaches as identified during stakeholder roundtable events, and will highlight barriers and/or needs for future investments to enhance agricultural resiliency to current extremes and future change.

The goal of this work is to gather information from agricultural producers that will guide future investments in resources, tools, and guidance for adapting California agriculture to weather extremes and climate change and meeting targets to achieve carbon neutrality. To this end we aim to identify producer concerns, existing management practices and decision making frameworks required for carbon neutrality and/or adaptation, and the needs producers have and/or barriers they face to more effectively adapting their operations to climate change. Building on a January 2020 pilot dialogue held in partnership with NRCS and University of California Cooperative Extension in Vacaville CA, we will advance that design into a robust framework for conducting stakeholder roundtable events which will allow for both quantitative and qualitative questions to be asked and provide an opportunity for open-ended discussion among participants. Quantitative survey-style questions will provide for consistency across regions and sectors in terms of response, while qualitative questioning allows for novelty and nuance in response. Further, our previous experience suggests that providing space for discussion results in more – and more positive – engagement, which can enrich the dialogue and improve the quality of the event and the information collected. In order to capture a cross-section of the needs and concerns of agricultural producers in California, we will conduct these stakeholder roundtables in ~4 locations across the state. These locations will be selected to reflect the variability of climates and production systems that make up California agriculture. Where possible, we will partner with NRCS Area or Field Office staff and UCANR advisors who work closely with area producers to identify potential roundtable event attendees.