Moving Michigan Farms towards Climate and Weather Resiliency: the Creation of a ‘’Weather and Climate Ready” Assessment Tool

Funded by GLISA Internal (NOAA RISA)

Project Summary

Michigan farmers are both struggling with and adapting to regional changes in climate including increases in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events. Other than conventional crop insurance, there is little support for farmers to help manage weather and climate related risks. Based on a system created by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the team will develop and evaluate a prototype of a new assessment tool for Michigan cropping systems on weather related vulnerability and sustainability, including key short-term weather and longer-term climate variables and indicators. We will create two versions, one for annual field crops and one for perennial tree fruit crops, with the hope that these will be adapted for the diverse range of agricultural production systems across the region. Using the framework set forth by Lengnick (2015), we will create the assessments to help farmers identify their climate risk and adaptive capacity. The assessment will ask about farm management and operational conditions and produce a vulnerability map for each farm. Potential management and conditions include: insurance and financial consideration, weather and climate indicators (frost/freeze, rainfall, etc.), temporal trends, detailed soil information, drainage installation, site growing season information, nitrogen and phosphorus management, disease incidence, diversity of crop rotation, and changes in variety selection or maturity groups.

Project Accomplishments

  • Paper and electronic assessment tool geared at evaluating farm management and operational conditions
  • Vulnerability map for farms
  • Training for Extension educators and relevant practitioners 
  • Project report

Research findings

The proposed assessment framework directly addresses a major current challenge for the region’s agriculture industry. It is also modular in design so that new strategies and options based on emerging technologies and regulatory considerations can be integrated at a later time.

GLISA Contribution

GLISA funded this project to MSU Extension.

Project Partners

  • MSU Extension
  • MSU W.K. Kellogg Biological Station

GLISA Contact

Jeff Andresen, GLISA Co-Director,


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