Climate change has serious implications for agricultural production, natural resource management, and food security. In the United States, land-grant universities and the U.S. Cooperative Extension System have a critical role to play in conducting basic and applied research related to climate change and translating findings into meaningful programming. However, land-grant universities and Extension have had difficulty maintaining their roles as the preeminent source of trusted information on complex topics like climate change. To help guide research and programming agendas of land-grant universities, the authors explored the barriers and priorities that researchers and Extension personnel at 16 northeastern land-grant universities perceive as they pursue climate change research and programming. Through an online survey, respondents indicated their perceptions of barriers related to information, workplace, and target audiences as well as the priorities they perceived as most important for land-grant universities to pursue. Statistical analysis indicated that lack of funding, lack of time, lack of locally relevant climate information, and challenges with target audiences were among the most critical barriers. In terms of future priorities, respondents indicated securing funding for applied research, training Extension educators, and developing locally relevant decision support tools as the most important activities northeastern land-grant universities can undertake. Based on these findings, this study concludes that land-grant universities will need to strategically pursue research and educational programming on climate change in ways that integrate research and Extension and simultaneously address climate change and other concerns of land managers.
© 2017 American Meteorological Society.
Tobin D, Radhakrishna R, Chatrchyan A, Allred SB. Addressing climate change impacts on agriculture and natural resources: barriers and priorities for land-grant universities in the northeastern United States. Weather, Climate, and Society. 2017 Jul;9(3):591-606.