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            March 3rd, 2016

Dear <<First Name>>,

Welcome to the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture (CICCA) Quarterly Chronicle! We are initiating this quarterly newletter to our advisory committee, extension specialists, supporters, and anyone who has expressed interest in CICCA.  The newsletter will summarize announcements, upcoming events, news/past events, and highlight some of our constantly-developing resources, tools, and videos.  

We thank you very much for your support, and aim to keep you in the loop with all the exciting CICCA and Climate Smart Farming news and updates.  Welcome, and please spread this newsletter far and wide to whomever you believe would find it useful!

                                                                  Mike Hoffmann & Allison Chatrchyan
                                                                  Executive Director & Director, CICCA

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About

The Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture was established in September 2013, and serves as a focal point for research, education, and outreach in the field of climate change in the Northeast. CICCA facilitates climate change research and education related to climate science, policy, environmental and agricultural systems, food security, and social-ecological resiliency. The Institute builds collaborative partnerships and engages stakeholders to share information and develop climate change solutions.  And additionally, CICCA educates stakeholders and decision makers with trusted, science-based information to increase sustainability and resiliency to climate change

What's New at CICCA?

Climate Smart Farming (CSF) Website Launch

CICCA has been working closely with the Northeast Regional Climate Center to develop the new Climate Smart Farming website. The website presents information on the impacts of climate change for farmers, provides informative resources, incorporates an interactive online forum, and contains interactive, climate-based agricultural decision tools.  


 
Agricultural decision tools will be vital to successful farming in a changing climate, and are one of the main thrusts of the website. These tools mesh weather and climate data with agricultural models, and are updated on a daily basis to create accurate short-term forecasts for farmers. Currently, the CSF tools available are a Growing Degree Day Calculator, a Freeze Risk Tool, and an Irrigation Scheduler. Also included are tools developed by the NRCC and NOAA on climate normals and seasonal climate predictions, as well as a U.S. Drought Monitor Tool from the National Drought Mitigation Center.  These tools update regularly with new data, and the CSF team is in the planning and development process for additional CSF decision tools.

It is important to note that the CSF tools are currently viewable on the site, but are still in testing/demo mode until the current seasonal data is available.  Please be patient, and check back regularly for new updates! We will also be sharing updates through this newsletter and social media.

Climate Change Seminar

CICCA, the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future (ACSF), and the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering (BEE) are co-sponsoring a new Cornell University Climate Change Seminar focused on "Perspectives on the Climate Change Challenge.”  This seminar series, led by Dr. Peter Hess, gives students and attendees the opportunity to hear from climate change experts on their research, perspectives, and recommendations regarding the challenges that climate change poses now and in the future.

Seminars occur every Monday (excluding university holidays) until May 9th, and are held at 3:35 PM in 233 Plant Science on the Cornell University campus.  This event is FREE and open to the public, and is accessible via WebEx for distance participation here.  All seminars are also being videotaped and recorded, and can be accessed at the ACSF website to watch later. See the flyer in the sidebar as well, which links to the Seminar homepage for a listing of speakers and topics.

CSF Farmer Advisory Team

CICCA has formed a new farmer advisory group of over a dozen farmers to provide input on the CSF program.  This will be very beneficial to get farmers' input on the usability and usefulness of the website, and help guide the development of future tools. This farmer advisory team is in addition to a statewide team of six Cornell Extension agriculture specialists in New York who cover a range of commodities and production issues, and are available to help train producers and other extension specialists to use the CSF tools and resources.  


Expanding with New Staff and Offices

CICCA is excited to be growing, through the hiring of new staff members and the expansion to our new office space on the first floor of Rice Hall at Cornell University.

We have hired a Program Assistant, Jonathan Lambert, who comes to CICCA after his Master's studies in Climate and Society at Columbia University.  He is experienced in climate and environmental science, and will be working with us on the Climate Smart Farming program (decision tools, website, research support for extension), and other climate change research and outreach projects.

                                 

We are also receiving support from Brian Belcher, who joins Rick Moore as our two part-time computer programmers, working with CICCA to develop the new decision support tools for agricultural producers in the Northeast. Both have extensive programming experience and knowledge of climate data, and we are lucky to have them working with CICCA.

Stop by Rice Hall to see the new CICCA office space, and visit the team: Mike Hoffmann (105A), Jonathan Lambert (105) Brian Belcher (104), Allison Chatrchyan (103), Joana Chan (102), and our research assistants in 104 (Rachel Erlebacher, Amanda Vargo, and Trevor Partridge).

Crowdfunding Campaign

Last fall, CICCA launched The Harvest Campaign for Climate Smart Farming, with the help of undergraduate research assistants Amanda Vargo and Rachel Erlebacher.  This campaign was aimed at celebrating the bounty that farmers in the Northeast produce, all while facing increasing challenges and risks from extreme weather and climate change. The money raised was used to support developing decision tools, our resource clearinghouse of best management practices, and the CSF forum. While, this specific campaign has ended, CICCA still accepts donations here.

Events

COP21 in Paris

Allison Chatrchyan and three other Cornell researchers represented Cornell University at the 21st Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP21) from November 29th to December 5th in Paris, France.  Allison and Johannes Lehmann set up an exhibit highlighting Cornell's climate change research, teaching, and outreach capacity, including a poster on the CSF Program. Agriculture was an important issue discussed at the global conference, with many universities, country delegations, and non-governmental organizations hosting side events highlighting the importance of climate change adaptation for farmers and communities, as well as options for mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the agricultural sector.

If you would like to learn more about the Cornell representation at COP21, take a look at the official Cornell COP21 website.

Executive Director in Chicago

Dr. Mike Hoffmann (CICCA Executive Director) is currently in Chicago to speak with the Chicago Chapter of the Cornell University Alumni Association, and the American Craft Sprits Distillers Convention and Vendor Trade Show. He is speaking with the Alumni Association on the impacts of climate change, how climate change is related to food security, and what steps Cornell and CICCA are taking to understand and mitigate these situations, and as the invited speaker at the Distillers Convention, he will give a talk entitled "A Changing Climate: What it Means to You and the Future of Your Business."  

NEDPA Conference in Syracuse

CICCA will be exhibiting at the Northeast Dairy Producers Association (NEDPA) Conference in Liverpool, NY on March 8-9, 2016.  Regional Dairy Specialist, Kim Morrill, will be there, along with Jonathan Lambert, to provide information about CICCA and the Climate Smart Farming program, as well as answer any questions you may have.

Mann Library Exhibit at Cornell

From May to August of this year, CICCA will have a permanent exhibit in Mann Library on the Cornell University Campus, entitled “Climate Smart Farming: New York State Farmers in Their Own Words.” The exhibit showcases CICCA's unique collaboration between Cornell researchers, extension specialists, and New York State farmers, and highlights stories of farmers' experiences with extreme weather and climate change, and the incredible changes they are adopting to their agricultural practices and infrastructure, including new cropping systems and varieties, water and waste management, and installation of renewable energy systems.
 
During Cornell Reunion Weekend, and in conjunction with Mann Library exhibit, Dr. Toby Ault will give a lecture entitled "Hot with a Chance of Megadrought: Planning for the Extremes of Our Changing Climate."  This will highlight insights derived from rigorous analysis of current data for shaping strategies to cope with a changing climate, and takes place on Friday, June 10th at 10am, in Mann Library Room 160.  A reception will follow at 11AM as well.

Both Dr. Ault’s lecture and the CSF exhibit will highlight the problems posed by a more extreme and warming climate, as well as some of the promising ways that scientists and stakeholders are collaborating to address and manage the challenge.

Recent Conferences and Meetings

CICCA has attended a number of local and regional conferences over the past months.  These conferences allow the Institute to broaden its reach, and gain insights from farmers, agricultural professions, and extension specialists.  A list of conferences and meetings attended is below:
  • Policy and Activism, A Conversation on Climate Change and Clean Energy - with NYS Assembly Representatives Steve Englebright and Barbara Lifton (Feb 26th, 2016)
  • Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture "Farming for the Future" Conference (Feb 3-6, 2016)
  • COP 21: Reflections on the Historic Climate Agreement - Tompkins County Library Panel, with NYS Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (Feb 3, 2016)
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association NY Winter Conference (Jan 22-24, 2016)
  • Empire State Producers Expo (Jan 19-20, 2016)
  • New York State Ag Society Forum (Jan 5, 2016)
  • USDA NE Climate Hub Meeting (Oct 26-27, 2016)
CICCA is planning on attending several conferences and meetings in the coming months as well. Please email us if you would like us to attend or speak at a conference you are organizing.
 

CICCA Team Spotlight

Each quarter, we will highlight a number members of our CICCA team, from those in our office at Cornell, to those working with us throughout New York State and the Northeast.  In this edition, we highlight extension specialist Bob Weybright and Dr. Joana Chan.
Extension: Bob Weybright, who is retiring from the Cornell Extension system at the end of March, represents the Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Team, and brought a strong background in agricultural economic development and marketing, to the Climate Smart Farming team. His experience with numerous development projects covered all phases of agriculture, including production, processing, marketing and sales. For the CSF Team, Bob provided input on the new farmer-friendly online decision support tools that allow growers to factor the risks of climate variability and opportunities into their farm development and marketing plans and decisions. Bob will be missed, and we thoroughly thank him for his contributions to the CSF Extension Team and Program.
Research: Dr. Joana Chan, an environmental social scientist, is CICCA’s inaugural post-doctoral fellow, hired in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources. Joana is working with Dr. Allison Chatrchyan and the USDA Northeast Climate Hub, to examine how we can help agricultural stakeholders adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Partnering with Penn State, she helped coordinate a survey of Northeast land grant universities’ climate change research and extension capacity, and is now conducting focus group interviews with farmers to understand their decision-making and risk perception related to extreme weather and climate change. With Dr. Shorna Allred and the Rust to Green Initiative, Joana’s focus is on developing urban community resilience to flooding by fostering communication and collaboration between municipal officials, public and private organizations, and residents in Binghamton, NY. 
 

Multimedia Spotlight

Stein Farms: The Importance of Cover Crops

In this edition of the CICCA Quarterly Chronicle, we share an interview with Dale Stein of Stein Farms in LeRoy, NY.  Stein Farms is an 850 dairy cow farm operation, which also produces field crops such as triticale.

Resources

A Changing Climate Means a Changing Menu
A recent article by Mike Hoffmann in The Hill helps connect the dots between climate change and a restaurant’s menu. Coffee, cocoa, tea, rice, oysters, lobster, wine and many of our other favorite foods are being affected by our changing climate. Bon appétit!.

Climate Change Perspectives from Indian Country
In another article from The Hill, Professor David Wolfe (CICCA Campus Advisory Committee Member), expounds upon the impacts of climate change to the Lakota and Dakota Native American communities in North and South Dakota, and discusses beginning to build resilience to this challenge among Native communities.

Climate Change, Global Food Security and the U.S. Food System
A comprehensive report released during the 2015 Paris Climate Conference points to a new reality about our global food system. Food security—the ability to obtain and use sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food—is a fundamental human need. Climate change is very likely to affect global, regional, and local food security by disrupting food availability, decreasing access to food, and making food utilization more difficult.

USDA Northeast Regional Climate Hub Assessment of Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies
CICCA contributed to research and writing of this report, which reviews present knowledge of agricultural and forest susceptibility to climate variability in the Northeast and serves as a guide to focus future adaptation work.


For additional news about climate change and Cornell's response, see the Cornell Climate Change website.  And, for supplementary information to this newsletter, please visit the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture website and the Climate Smart Farming Program website.

Acknowledgements

Funding

CICCA’s research, education, and outreach work is made possible through funding from several grants, including USDA NIFA Federal Capacity Funds (Hatch and Smith Lever funds), the USDA NE Climate Hub (through an Agricultural Research Service, Cooperative Agreement), and through the insightful funding from the New World Foundation, Local Economies Project. We gratefully acknowledge our funders' support.
 

Thank You

Thank you very much for supporting the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture!
Let us know if you have any feedback or further ideas for CICCA by emailing us here.

If you are not subscribed, please consider joining our subscriber list for quarterly CICCA and Climate Smart Farming updates.
 
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