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Facilitating Farmer Adoption of Climate Resilience Plans

Extension Education

Natalie Hoidal
Extension Educator
University of Minnesota Extension


While climate change can feel like an overwhelmingly complex problem, Extension programs can provide approachable guidance to help farmers plan for resilience. University of Minnesota Extension partnered with The Land Stewardship Project to host a pilot program to support farmers in developing comprehensive climate resilience plans. Laura Lengnick (Risk to Resilience LLC), author of the USDA’s Adaptation Resources for Agriculture Guide facilitated the program. We followed a five-step process: 1. Holistic goal setting, 2. Understanding climate risks, 3. Brainstorming adaptation strategies, 4. Prioritizing strategies and developing a plan for implementation and evaluation, 5. Presenting the plan to peers and facilitators for feedback. Twelve small-scale fruit and vegetable farms participated, meeting five times over a ten week period. We used a mix of lecture, small group discussion, peer consultation, and individual work to foster a collaborative learning environment and peer-to-peer learning. Traditional risk management frameworks tend to highlight technological or natural resource based solutions; growers in this cohort were prompted to draw from natural, human, social, physical, and financial resources. The participating farmers improved their knowledge of risk management, and all twelve farms developed a resilience plan. We followed up with participants one year later, and all had made changes to their farms based on their plans. The process helped growers feel less overwhelmed by climate change and begin to take steps towards resilience, and the cohort model helped growers to think more creatively and communally about resilience while providing a network of support. 

Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted for judging. It will be displayed at the AM/PIC if not selected as a State winner. The abstract will be published in the proceedings.

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Authors: Natalie Hoidal, Nick Olson, Annelie Livingston-Anderson, Laura Lengnick
  1. Hoidal, N. Extension Educator, University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota, 55024-8087
  2. Olson, N. Programs organizer, The Land Stewardship Project, Minnesota, 55355
  3. Livingston-Anderson, A. Programs organizer, The Land Stewardship Project, Wisconsin, 43769
  4. Lengnick, L. Founder, Risk to Resilience LLC, New York, 10516