Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Plant and Soil Science

First Advisor

V. Ernesto Mendez

Second Advisor

Joshua Faulkner

Abstract

Agricultural adaptation to climate change is notoriously context specific. Recently updated projections for the Northeastern US forecast increasingly severe and erratic precipitation events which pose significant risks to every sector of agricultural production in the region. Vegetable and berry farmers are among the most vulnerable to the risks of severe precipitation and drought due to the intensive soil and crop management strategies which characterize of this kind of production. To successfully adapt to a changing climate, these farmers need information which is tailored for the unique challenges of vegetable and berry production, framed at the level of climate impacts, and delivered through the familiar lexicon used by farmers in the region.

My approach is grounded by partnerships with farmer networks to inform both the relevance of this information and my outreach strategy for sharing results. This research presents complimentary quantitative and qualitative data sets on adaptive management, and highlights the insight of farmers voices on innovative and promising solutions for managing climate related risks.

The goal of the project was to create usable information for producers through a Farmer First approach which privileges the voices and experiences of farmers in determining the information and resources they need. As part of a broader project, this thesis analyzed the results of a regional survey of vegetable and berry growers conducted over the winter months of 2017-2018. The first chapter reviews theoretical foundations for academic study of agricultural management and climate change, with a focus on information usability. The second chapter applies theories of adaptation and resilience to identify agroecological principles for adapting farm management to water extremes and innovative practices emerging in the region. The third chapter uses a regression modelling approach to explore how adaptive management practices vary across site specific characteristics.

Our analysis identifies trends and principles for adapting to water excess and water deficits on diversified vegetable and berry farms in the Northeast. The research findings highlight how site characteristics influence the selection of adaptive management practices on farms in the Northeast.

Language

en

Number of Pages

156 p.

Available for download on Friday, February 14, 2020

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