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Research Project: The USDA ARS Climate Hubs – Increasing Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability by Impactful Development and Communication of Climate Smart Agricultural Research and Practices – Las Cruces, NM

Location: Range Management Research

2021 Annual Report

Objective 1: Enable climate-smart decision-making by developing science-based, region-specific information, tools and technologies for agricultural and natural resource managers, and provide assistance where possible to enhance adoption and implementation of the same. The work will be conducted as the Southwest USDA Climate Change Hub and will be coordinated with NRCS, FS, and other USDA and non-USDA organizations in accordance with guidance found in the USDA Climate Change Hubs Charter, and Terms of Reference.

The climate hubs relate directly to the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Research National Program (NP216) Action Plan (2018-2022), Component 3. Achieving Agroecosystem Potential and these problem statements: Problem Statement 3a. Sustaining Intensified Production; Problem Statement 3b. Enhancing ecosystem services; and Problem Statement 3c. Enabling decision support for sustainability.

Progress Report
Progress was made in building climate-resilient landscapes and communities in the Southwest (Objective 6). The Southwest Climate Hub team launched several tools for helping land managers and producers adapt to extreme weather conditions and climate change. The team developed an online collection of more than 500 tools for the beef industry (TOBI), launched the “Come Rain or Shine” podcast featuring 12 episodes highlighting climate impacts and resilience, and continued the Southwest Drought Learning Network with climate scientists and land managers.

1. Building climate-resilient landscapes and communities in the Southwest. Weather and climate impacts on Southwestern U.S. ecosystems and communities include weather-related crop loss, large interannual and spatial variability in precipitation and rangeland production, wildfire, and extreme drought. As members of the USDA Southwest Climate Hub (SW Climate Hub), ARS scientists in Las Cruces, New Mexico, engaged in knowledge co-production with resource managers and stakeholders. The SW Climate Hub team developed an online collection of more than 500 tools for the beef industry (TOBI) and published a report using crop insurance data supplied in the AgRisk Viewer (an on-line risk management decision support tool developed by SW Climate Hub). The team also contributed to the North American Food and Fibre chapter of the 6th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment report and launched the “Come Rain or Shine” podcast, publishing 12 episodes highlighting climate impacts and resilience. During the past year the SW Climate Hub team presented and/or hosted 30+ on-line workshops or webinars and continued the SW Drought Learning Network with climate scientists and land managers, which was featured in the U.S. Global Change Research Program annual report. Collectively, these efforts assist Southwestern farmers, ranchers, foresters, and other land managers in strategically adapting to the impacts of extreme weather and climate change.

Review Publications
Elias, E.H., Aney, S., Duff, G., Gifford, C., Spiegal, S.A., Cibils, A., Steiner, J., Estell, R.E. 2020. Snapshot of rancher perspectives on creative cattle management options. Rangelands.
Dinan, M., Elias, E.H., Webb, N., Zwicke, G., Dy, T.S., Aney, S., Brady, M., Brown, J.R., Dobos, R.R., DuBois, D., Edwards, B., Heimel, S., Luke, N., Rottler, C.M., Steele, C. 2021. Addressing air quality, agriculture, and climate change across the Southwest and Southern Plains: A roadmap for research, extension, and policy. Bulletin of the American Meterological Society. 102(7):1394-1401.
Peterson, C., Elias, E.H., Brandt, L., Hurteau, S. 2021. Community forests prepare for climate change. 102.
Baffaut, C., Baker, J.M., Biederman, J.A., Bosch, D.D., Brooks, E.S., Buda, A.R., Demaria, E.M., Elias, E.H., Flerchinger, G.N., Goodrich, D.C., Hamilton, S.K., Hardegree, S.P., Harmel, R.D., Hoover, D.L., King, K.W., Kleinman, P.J., Liebig, M.A., McCarty, G.W., Moglen, G.E., Moorman, T.B., Moriasi, D.N., Okalebo, J., Pierson Jr, F.B., Russell, E.S., Saliendra, N.Z., Saha, A.K., Smith, D.R., Yasarer, L.M. 2020. Comparative analysis of water budgets across the U.S. long-term agroecosystem research network. Journal of Hydrology. 588.
Peters, D.C., McVey, D.S., Elias, E.H., Pelzel-McCluskey, A.M., Derner, J.D., Burruss, N., Schrader, T.S., Yao, J., Pauszek, S.J., Lombard, J., Rodriguez, L.L. 2020. Big data-model integration and AI for vector-borne disease prediction. Ecosphere. 11:1-20.