Questions of agriculture and climate change meet at Cornell

For farmers, a warming climate challenges fundamental decisions they have always made based on the certainty of the weather – such as when to plant various crops, which varieties to choose or what investments in cooling or irrigation infrastructure would make the most economic sense. They will soon have a resource to help them navigate the changes: the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture. Allison Morrill Chatrchyan becomes its first director Sept. 1.

“The institute grew out of a very real need to help farmers adapt to the marked changes in our climate that are already underway,” said Mike Hoffmann, director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station. “Many current agricultural practices are based on long-standing assumptions about temperature and the length of the growing season that are no longer true.”

The institute will act as a clearinghouse for research, climate monitoring, decision‐support tools and applications at the intersection of climate and agriculture. An early step will be developing a website for disseminating and gathering information on farm-level impacts and trends, losses and gains resulting from warming and extreme weather…

Two key functions of the institute will be to foster development of decision-making tools to help farmers know when to invest in changes based on science and sound economics, and to establish collaborations to address issues related to climate change and agriculture…

“Cornell has depth and breadth across a multitude of disciplines involved in climate change and agriculture, including crop and soil science, pest management, earth and atmospheric sciences, plant breeding and genetics, and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future,” said Kathryn Boor…Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Strategic decisions backed by sound science will pay off in the long term for New York farmers.”

Or they could rely on Know-Nothings in Congress for a bailout at taxpayers’ expense after years of ignoring science and putting their trust in 19th Century nutballs.

Given the choice, I’d rather see farmers working with scientists, agronomists and economists who are truly on their side – and offering science-based support.

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