Agricultural Decision Support Tools: A Comparative Perspective on These Climate Services
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Climate services such as agricultural decision support tools provide a link between climate information and agricultural practices for farmers, with a goal of improving best management practices and agricultural sustainability through the useful presentation of climate variability and change. Independent organizations throughout the world have developed tools to meet their region’s specific needs, and these tools are generally commodity or issue specific. The Cornell Climate Smart Farming Program, an interdisciplinary program of the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions (CICSS), has developed a website and suite of climate-based agricultural decision support tools aimed at helping farmers make more informed decisions in the face of increasing climate uncertainty. Specific tools were developed based on the major climate impacts to Northeastern US agriculture and through a collaborative development process with stakeholders, researchers, and the Northeast Regional Climate Center. Through this process, CICSS performed a review of decision tools on a national and international scale, and in this text the role and impact of decision support tools are examined, along with the ability of researchers and tool developers to learn from stakeholders and share information via extension specialists. The need for monitoring, evaluation, and coordination among regional programs and organizations is also discussed.
KeywordsClimate services Decision support tools Climate change Agriculture Farming Risk
We thank Rick Moore and Brian Belcher for programming the Climate Smart Farming Tools and making these possible in the year, and Savannah Acosta for compiling and analyzing literature on decision support tools. We also thank our collaborators at the Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomy Research. We appreciate the organizers of the Conference on Weather and Climate Decision Tools for Farmers, Ranchers, and Land Managers, at the University of Florida, which led to a great exchange of ideas in preparation for finalizing this manuscript. And finally, we would like to acknowledge our funders: USDA NIFA Federal Capacity Funds (Hatch and Smith Lever funds), the USDA NE Climate Hub (through an Agricultural Research Service, Cooperative Agreement), and insightful funding from the New World Foundation, Local Economies Project. We gratefully acknowledge all support provided for this project.
Agriculture decision making tool by CUCSS (MP4 23414 kb)
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