Weather patterns are changing, creating new challenges on the farm. A project inspired by an innovation challenge has turned into a media-rich website that offers insight to farmers from farmers.
“Learning From Your Neighbor: Climate Resiliency in Agriculture” can be found at bit.ly/ClimateResiliencyAg. The project has many storytelling components, including video, printed factsheets and an online story map that integrates images, video and text into a single interface. When you hear a farmer’s story or insights, the map shows you where they farm.
Windy Kelley, University of Wyoming Extension regional program director, shares that the project goal is multifaceted. “It connects farmers and ranchers to one another to provide them with a network they can tap into as they consider changing management practices — sharing what worked, what didn’t work, and what they might do differently ‘next time,’” she says.
In addition, the site documents what practices are available for agricultural producers and working land managers to increase resiliency to weather and climate extremes.
The site also provides a way to increase knowledge and awareness for the general public about challenges and decisions ag producers face from day to day and year to year.
Kelley, along with others at UW Extension, Montana State University Extension and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension partnered to get out on the ground and document ag producers sharing innovative practices they adopted that have increased their operations’ resiliency to weather and climate extremes.
The project was inspired by an innovation challenge from eXtension a few years ago. eXtension is a national hub for learning and professional development for those in Extension programs at land-grant universities.
Working across six states, the website has six producer stories: one in Montana, two in North Dakota, two in South Dakota and one in Nebraska. Two more from North Dakota will be added soon.
“As we have funding, as well as interest by producers who are willing to share their stories, we hope to continue to build and populate the map by adding videos and additional content,” Kelley says. “We do have gaps in Wyoming and Colorado right now, and we would love to have producers there share their stories with us.”
The story map provides clickable resources and views across six states. “Producers, the public, Extension and other service providers can look at the map and say, ‘OK, I’m in Montana and there is a farmer doing no-till or reduced till, and it actually can work here,’” she says.
The project was funded in part by the USDA Northern Plains Climate Hub, which is a part of the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Fort Collins, Colo.