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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #378875

Research Project: Managing Energy and Carbon Fluxes to Optimize Agroecosystem Productivity and Resilience

Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

Title: Climate indicators for agriculture

item WALSCH, MARGARET - Office Of The Chief Economist
item BACKLUND, PETER - Colorado State University
item BUJA, LAWRENCE - University Of Nevada
item DEGAETANO, ARTHUR - Cornell University - New York
item MELNICK, RACHEL - Agriculture & Food Systems Institute
item PROKOPY, LINDA - Purdue University
item TAKLE, EUGENE - Iowa State University
item Todey, Dennis
item ZISKA, LEWIS - Columbia University - New York

Submitted to: Government Publication/Report
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2020
Publication Date: 7/29/2020
Citation: Walsch, M., Backlund, P., Buja, L., Degaetano, A., Melnick, R., Prokopy, L., Takle, E., Todey, D.P., Ziska, L. 2020. Climate indicators for agriculture. USDA-Climate Change Program Office Technical Bulletin. 1953.

Interpretive Summary: This document is a summary of short topical reviews of various issues related to agriculture and climate. Various work is done related to climate change and different issues in agriculture. While various climate parameters are measured tracking changes in climate, there was not a set of indicators addressing how agriculture is changing as a result of climate. This work establishes a process for determining an indicator for agriculture and summaries a set of the indicators for general public use. This set is a first of its kind document establishing process and listing a set of agricultural indicators.

Technical Abstract: The USDA Climate Change Indicators for Agriculture technical report provides national, regional, and local information to support decision-making by U.S. farmers, livestock producers, resource managers, policy-makers, and other agricultural stakeholders. This USDA technical report was released in July 2020 and identifies twenty different indicators that track how climate change is, and will be, affecting a range of important agricultural production systems in the United States. These twenty indicators were chosen from a much larger candidate set because they - have clear relationships to climate - are relevant to agricultural production, food systems, and/or food security - have a historical context - are available and well documented - as a group represent multiple production types and aspects The collection of indicators provide sustained and consistent information regarding: - Physical climate elements that directly affect agricultural production and food systems that are currently being monitored; - Indirect measures of climate impacts, such as the range and infestation intensity of weeds, pests, disease and disease vectors, and the timing of seasonal agricultural activities that affect crop production and animal agriculture; and - Crop, animal, and socioeconomic indicators. such as heat stress in livestock, crop-growing region migration, and insurance payouts for extreme events that influence overall farming productivity. In a variety of different ways, these indicators reveal how the climate context is changing for U.S. agriculture, both directly, e.g. precipitation and temperature extremes, and indirectly, e.g. increased pest pressure, how crops and animals are responding, and the consequences for economic and human costs. Together, the indicators represent an overall view of how climate change is influencing American agriculture systems. Individually, they provide useful information for supporting specific management decisions.