Progress Timeline  |  Reaching Out  |  Researcher Spotlight
Greetings from the Project Director



Dear Friends,


Few can argue that it's been a very long and cold winter, and I think we're all ready to welcome in the spring temperatures! With the growing season just around the corner we've updated AgClimate ViewDST  and Growing Degree DayDST with the latest information for 2014. We hope you check out these products and others available from the U2U Decision Dashboard. Let us know what you think, and keep checking back for new tools and valuable resources for the Corn Belt. 




Dr. Linda Stalker Prokopy, U2U Project Director

Progress Timeline


Quarterly Progress Report

During the last few months, U2U team members presented decision tool information at more than 20 events across the Corn Belt to raise awareness and gather critical user feedback. Our product development teams have also been testing potential applications related to in-season nitrogen management, the cost effectiveness of irrigation, and yield trends under future climate conditions.  


Our progress timeline is a great way to stay up-to-date on upcoming project milestones. Click on the graphic to view a full-size PDF

Reaching Out



Decision Support Tool Outreach

Decision support tool training and outreach sessions were held at the following events:

  • Northwest Certified Crop Advisor Workshop in St. Joseph, MO on January 22, 2014 (presented by Ray Massey)

94th Annual American Meteorological Society Meeting

Several U2U team members attended the 94th Annual AMS Meeting in Atlanta, GA February 2-6, 2014. Melissa Widhalm, U2U Project Manager, showcased U2U decision support tools and shared new findings about Midwestern ag advisors perceptions of climate impacts and the 2012 drought. Amber Mase, PhD candidate at Purdue University, was selected as a Student Presentation Award Winner for her talk on farmer and advisor perspectives on climate change and adaptation. Dr. Jim Angel shared a selection of U2U-CSCAP farmer survey results during his presentation on improving U.S. climate services


Recordings of these presentations are available on the AMS Annual Meeting website.  


Midwest Climate Collaboration Meeting

About a dozen researchers associated with the U2U project attended the Midwest Climate Collaboration Meeting in Champaign, IL March 12-13, 2014. This workshop, hosted by the Midwestern Regional Climate Center, brought together over 40 experts working in various areas of applied climate services to discuss emerging issues, gaps and needs, and collaboration opportunities. A report highlighting key findings and recommendations is under development.



New Extension Publication

Loy, A., Hobbs, J., Arbuckle Jr., J.G., Morton, L.W., Prokopy, L.S., Haigh, T., Knoot, T., Knutson, C., Mase, A.S., McGuire, J., Tyndall, J., and M. Widhalm. 2013. Farmer Perspectives on Agriculture and Weather Variability in the Corn Belt: A Statistical Atlas. CSCAP 0153-2013. Ames, IA: Cropping Systems Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP): Climate Change, Mitigation, and Adaptation in Corn-based Cropping Systems. 

U2U and CSCAP (SustainableCorn.org) have released a new report titled Farmer Perspectives on Agriculture and Weather Variability in the Corn Belt: A Statistical Atlas that focuses on watershed-level results from a 2012 survey of nearly 5,000 farmers in 11 Midwestern states. This Extension publication provides a series of full-color maps and tables showing regional differences in farmers' attitudes toward climate adaptation and mitigation, beliefs in climate change, perceived risk of climate events, influence of agricultural actors, adaptive capacity, and farm characteristics.  


Researcher Spotlight


Shanxia Sun is a graduate student and research assistant at Purdue University working with Dr. Benjamin Gramig, U2U co-PI and Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics. Her current work is focused on the effects of agricultural activities, land allocation, and climate change on water pollution. Shanxia is also interested in issues surrounding water use efficiency for agricultural irrigation.


Shanxia joined the U2U project in February 2014 working in the area of nitrogen fertilizer modeling. She will be assisting with validating potential nitrogen management models and subsequent tool development.  


Shanxia lives in West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband and a 6-year-old daughter. She enjoys watching movies and playing Ping-Pong with her family and friends, especially her daughter.  


AgriClimate Connection Blog


AgriClimate Connection is an interactive blog where farmers and scientists across the Corn Belt can learn about and discuss cutting-edge farm management strategies, weather and climate conditions and much more. It is jointly-managed by SustainableCorn.org and U2U


Recent Posts: 


Water Chat

Posted on 03/12/2014 by Chad Ingels

Water is an extremely valuable input in agriculture, whether delivered through rain, snow or irrigation. This fact was made very apparent during... Read more


Waiting for Spring

Posted on 03/04/2014 by Jim Angel

This winter has been significantly colder than average across the Corn Belt. The December-February temperatures were 9 to 12 degrees below average across Minnesota, Wisconsin, eastern... Read more


State Nutrient Reduction Strategy: Information Midwestern Farmers Can Use

Posted on 02/10/2014 by Lynn Laws

Dick Sloan, an Iowa farmer in Buchanan County, recently wrote to his local newspaper to bring attention to the portion of Iowa's Nutrient Reduction Strategy that... Read more


Be sure to subscribe to our blog for the latest updates.  

Climate Quiz

March 2014 Quiz

Question 1: Record setting cold temperatures throughout the winter of 2013-14 resulted in 92% of the Great Lakes being completely ice covered in March 2014. This is only the 3rd time in the past 40 years where ice coverage peaked above 90%. On average, the Great Lakes annual maximum ice coverage is:

Question #2: Compared to the period 1980-1994, the first reported field work day each spring* from 1995-2010 occurred, on average, this many days earlier.

*In five states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri)


Question 1 Source: NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory -  Link
Question 2 Source: Dr. Benjamin Gramig, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University

Upcoming Events


2014 Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting

April 8-12, 2014 | Tampa, FL

U2U researchers will be attending the 2014 Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting to report the latest findings from their climate and crop modeling work. For more information visit the AAG website


21st Conference on Applied Climatology

June 10-13, 2014 | Westminster, CO

Several U2U team members will be attending the 21st Conference on Applied Climatology and presenting information about new and future decision support products, crop modeling results, and more. More information is available on the conference website


U2U Team Photo  
U2U Team


About Us: 

Useful to Usable (U2U) is a multi-institution research and extension project focused on improving the resilience and profitability of farms in the North Central U.S. amid a more variable and changing climate. Through the development and dissemination of decision support tools, resource materials and training, we strive to transform existing climate information into actionable knowledge for more effective decision making. 

CONTACT US:   Melissa Widhalm, Project Manager                                     Click here to join our mailing list. 

This project is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2011-68002-30220 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.