Location: Rangeland Resources & Systems ResearchTitle: An “agroclimate outreach exchange” to increase Extensions’ climate-related knowledge, network, and confidence
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/9/2020
Publication Date: 5/4/2020
Citation: Peck, D.E., Kelley, W.K., Wilmer, H.N. 2020. An “agroclimate outreach exchange” to increase Extensions’ climate-related knowledge, network, and confidence. Meeting Abstract. 1/4-2/4. https://agrisk.umn.edu/Conferences/Presentation/an_agroclimate_outreach_exchange_to_increase_.
Technical Abstract: The USDA Northern Plains Climate Hub partnered with its six-state Extension & Outreach Team to organize and host an innovative “AgroClimate Outreach Exchange” during the spring of 2019. This unique two-day event brought together 65 partners—from University Extension, Conservation Districts, the agriculture industry, state government, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture—for an interactive exchange of new outreach tools developed by Extension professionals in the Northern Plains region over the past 5 years. The event’s goal was to strengthen participants’ understanding and confidence in communicating the science of climate and agriculture to stakeholders. The event’s primary objective was to increase climate literacy and preparedness among the agricultural community, and to increase the agricultural literacy of climate scientists. A second objective was to expand participants’ network of colleagues who share an interest in agroclimate outreach. Its third objective was to increase the visibility and accessibility of novel agroclimate outreach tools and approaches, thereby encouraging more widespread adoption in other states. With limited resources available for climate-related outreach, cross-state exchange/expansion of existing tools and approaches is critical for meeting stakeholders’ growing concern about climate-related impacts. Event participants indicated on evaluation forms that it provided high-quality, accessible content and resources, as well as a welcoming environment that enabled networking with new contacts from diverse perspectives, disciplines, and organizations. Example insights reported by participants included: the importance of building relationships and making personal connections for better climate communication; to be less afraid of asking agricultural producers about climate impacts and to listen to their stories and answers with an open mind; and the value of connecting with Extension professionals because they can help share relevant research findings. This successful AgroClimate Outreach Exchange event provides a template for Extension in other states to use, in collaboration with their nearest regional USDA Climate Hub, to increase the climate knowledge, confidence, and network of outreach professionals. In the proposed session, we will describe the 2019 AgroClimate Outreach Exchange event, provide practical tips for organizing and hosting a successful gathering, and share some examples of innovative outreach tools and approaches that our Extension partners in the Northern Plains region developed.