Grant will help farmers deal with changes to climates

June 28, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University researchers will get a $5 million grant to develop decision-support tools to help corn and soybean growers adapt their practices to changes in climate.

"Today's agricultural producers are able to grow more food on fewer acres of land to sustain a growing population," said Purdue President France A. Córdova. "Successfully meeting this challenge has been due to the industry's willingness to adopt new practices. This project will provide the technologies producers will need in the face of a changing world to plan for, and adapt to, climatic shifts."

Linda Prokopy, an associate professor of forestry and natural resources, will lead researchers affiliated with the Purdue Climate Change Research Center in the five-year project. The research is funded by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Prokopy said the first part of the project will focus on developing models that can predict how different climate scenarios would affect corn and soybean growth and profits throughout a 12-state region that stretches from the Dakotas south to Kansas and east to Ohio.

"The goal is to help producers make better long-term plans on what, when and where to plant and also how to manage the crops for maximum yields and minimal environmental damage," Prokopy said.

The second part will focus on the best ways to deliver that information to crop producers. Prokopy said effort will be made to ensure that the information is easy to understand and distributed in ways that will give producers the most access to it.

"There are a lot of climate change projections out there, but they're not in a form that's useful for producers," she said. "There's no point in having high-quality data that is difficult for producers to use."

Prokopy will be involved with assessing how best to deliver information to producers. Leading the climate change element of the project will be Dev Niyogi, a Purdue associate professor of agronomy and earth and atmospheric sciences and the Indiana state climatologist. Otto Doering, a professor of agricultural economics and director of Purdue's Climate Change Research Center; Ben Gramig, an assistant professor of agricultural economics; and Bruce Erickson, Purdue director of cropping systems management, will be involved with economic modeling. Xiaohui Song, a senior research scientist in Purdue's Rosen Center for Advanced Computing, will help with information deployment.

Purdue scientists will collaborate with others from Michigan State University, the University of Illinois, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin, Iowa State University, the University of Missouri, the University of Nebraska, the University of Michigan and South Dakota State University.

Writer: Brian Wallheimer, 765-496-2050,

Source: Linda Prokopy, 765-496-2221,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson,
Agriculture News Page