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Coming soon: Resources for Extension Educators, Irrigation InvestmentDST

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Corn Split NDST the latest decision tool from the U2U team, combines historical weather data and fieldwork conditions with economic considerations to determine the feasibility and profitability of completing a post-planting nitrogen application for corn production.

Corn Split N
  • Get customized results based on your planting and fertilization schedule, local costs, and available equipment.
  • Quantify the costs and benefits of post-planting nitrogen application under average, worst, and best case scenarios to fully assess your risks.
  • Summarized fieldwork table and crop calendar make it easy to see how schedule adjustments might affect your ability to fertilize on time.

Would you like to test drive new product features or new tools before they're available to the public? Sign up to become a tool tester.

Tool Tips and Updatestool
tool tip Did you know...

You can zoom in to any graph by clicking above or below the plotted data and dragging your cursor to the right or left. Then use the Reset Zoom button in upper right of graph to zoom out.

Upcoming Eventsupcoming
Climate Resilient Agriculture Workshop
November 19, 2014 | Phelps County, NE

Tapan Pathak, U2U collaborator, will conduct U2U decision tool training at the Climate Resilient Agriculture workshop in Phelps County, Nebraska. Registration is free, and travel support for educators is available.

Integrated Crop Management Conference
December 3-4, 2014 | Ames, IA

Chad Hart, Extension Economist at Iowa State University, will be conducting U2U decision tool training on Wednesday December 3, 2014 at the Integrated Crop Management Conference. Register and attend to earn CCA credits.

American Geophysical Union 

Fall Meeting

December 15-19, 2014 | San Francisco, CA

AGU Fall Meeting logo

U2U investigators Linda Prokopy and Jim Angel will be attending the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting where they will share information with fellow scientists about U2U research and decision support tools. Additional information about this meeting is available at

95th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

January 4-8, 2015 | Phoenix, AZ 

95th Annual Meeting logo

Melissa Widhalm, U2U Project Manager, will be attending the 95th American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Meeting where she will be presenting information about project evaluation methods and findings.

AgriClimate Connectionagriclimate
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 and U2U.

Recent Posts:

Posted on 11/6/2014 by Dennis Todey 
What's up with El Nino? Short answer is still not too much. The monthly El Nino summary has been posted today at the Climate Prediction Center. The basic message is...

Posted on 10/29/2014 by Chad Ingels 
Fall is the time to evaluate corn nitrogen use efficiency by using the end-of-season cornstalk nitrate test. The test measures nitrate-nitrogen left in the corn plant following maturity...
Read more

Posted on 10/1/2014 by Lynn Laws
In August, over 200 Corn-belt farmers, crop advisors and scientists gathered in Ames, Iowa, to discuss climate uncertainty, impacts on agriculture and what can be done to make the agricultural...
Read more

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

Reaching Outreaching
Corn affected by drought
Do extreme events cause a shift in climate change beliefs?
Dr. Stuart Carlton, former U2U post-doctoral researcher now with Texas Sea Grant/Texas A&M University at Galveston, presented his research findings during a webinar jointly hosted by NIDIS and the U2U project. Carlton's results show how the 2012 drought influenced agricultural advisors' climate risk perceptions, climate change beliefs, and adaptation attitudes.

New Article in Journal of Soil and Water Conservation (Special Issue)
Arbuckle, J.G., J. Hobbs, A. Loy, L.W. Morton, L.S. Prokopy, and J. Tyndall. 2014. "Understanding farmer perspectives on climate change: Toward effective communication strategies for adaptation and mitigation in the Corn Belt." Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 69(6): 505-516

Journal of Soil and Water Conservation Abstract:
Development of extension and outreach that effectively engage farmers in climate change adaptation and/or mitigation activities can be informed by an improved understanding of farmers' perspectives on climate change and related impacts. This research employed latent class analysis (LCA) to analyze data from a survey of 4,778 farmers from 11 US Corn Belt states. The research focused on two related research questions: (1) to what degree do farmers differ on key measures of beliefs about climate change, experience with extreme weather, perceived risks to agriculture, efficacy, and level of support for public and private adaptive and mitigative action; and (2) are there potential areas of common ground among farmers? Results indicate that farmers have highly heterogeneous perspectives, and six distinct classes of farmers are identified. We label these as the following: the concerned (14%), the uneasy (25%), the uncertain (25%), the unconcerned (13%), the confident (18%), and the detached (5%). These groups of farmers differ primarily in terms of beliefs about climate change, the degree to which they had experienced extreme weather, and risk perceptions. Despite substantial differences on these variables, areas of similarity were discerned on variables measuring farmers' (1) confidence that they will be able to deal with increases in weather variability and (2) support for public and private efforts to help farmers adapt to increased weather variability. These results can inform segmented approaches to outreach that target subpopulations of farmers as well as broader engagement strategies that would reach wider populations. Further, findings suggest that strategies with specific reference to climate change might be most effective in engaging the subpopulations of farmers who believe that climate change is occurring and a threat, but that use of less charged terms such as weather variability would likely be more effective with a broader range of farmers. Outreach efforts that (1) appeal to farmers' problem solving capacity and (2) employ terms such as "weather variability" instead of more charged terms such as "climate change" are more likely to be effective with a wider farmer audience.

New Article in Climate Risk Management

Lemos, M.C., Y.J. Lo, C.J. Kirchhoff, and T. Haigh. In Press: "Crop advisors as climate information brokers: building the capacity of US farmers to adapt to climate change." Climate Risk Management. [open access]

Climate Risk Management Abstract:
This paper examines the role of crop advisors as brokers of climate information to support US corn farmers to adapt to climatic change. It uses quantitative data collected from a broad survey of crop advisors in the US Corn Belt to examine the factors that shape advisors' use of (and willingness to provide) climate information to their clients. Building upon a general model of climate information usability we argue that advisors' willingness to provide climate advice to farmers is influenced by three main factors: their information seeking habits and behavior, their experience with innovation in the past, and how climate information interplays with other kinds of information that they provide-especially agronomic advice. We find that advisors' willingness to provide climate related information depends both on factors at the individual and organizational level and on the type of advice they provide. First, at the individual and organizational levels, advisors who work in supportive organizations and who collaborate with other advisors are more likely to provide climate information. Second, advisors are more likely to provide climate information if it does not interfere with their main profit making business (e.g. provision of agronomic advice). Third, there is a significant positive relationship between trust in a greater number or sources of information and use of climate information. Fourth, the way advisors perceive short- and long-term risk also influences their willingness to provide climate information; the more concerned they are about long-term climate-related risks to farming, the more likely they are to provide (or want to provide) advice based on climate information. Differently from other empirical work in the literature, our analytical model suggests that neither negative experiences with climate information in the past nor the high level of uncertainty characteristic of climate information appear to influence advisors willingness to provide climate information in the future.

New Article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

Prokopy, L.S., L.W. Morton, J.D. Arbuckle, A.S. Mase, and A.W. Wilke. In Press. "Agricultural stakeholder views on climate change: Implications for conducting research and outreach." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Understanding U.S. agricultural stakeholder views about the existence of climate change and its causes is central to developing interventions in support of adaptation and mitigation. Results from surveys conducted with six Midwestern stakeholder groups (corn producers, agricultural advisors, climatologists, Extension educators, and two different cross-disciplinary teams of scientists funded by USDA-NIFA) reveal striking differences. Individuals representing these groups were asked in 2011-2012 to "select the statement that best reflects your beliefs about climate change." Three of five answer options included the notion that climate change is occurring but for different reasons (mostly human activities; mostly natural; more or less equally by natural and human activities). The last two options were "there is not sufficient evidence to know with certainty whether climate change is occurring or not" and "climate change is not occurring." Results reveal that agricultural and climate scientists are more likely to believe that climate change is mostly due to human activities (50 to 67%) than farmers and advisors (8 - 12%). Almost a quarter of farmers and agricultural advisors believe the source of climate change is mostly natural causes; and 22-31% state there is not sufficient evidence to know with certainty whether it is occurring or not. This discrepancy in beliefs creates challenges for communicating climate science to agricultural stakeholders in ways that encourage adaptation and mitigation. Results suggest that engagement strategies that reduce threats to worldviews and increase public dialogue could make climate information more relevant to stakeholder groups with different belief structures.

New Article in Agriculture and Human Values

Wilke, A.K. and L.W. Morton. In Press. "Climatologists' patterns of communicating science to agriculture." Agriculture & Human Values. [open access] 

Agriculture and Human Values Abstract:
Climatologists have a unique role in providing various stakeholders and public data users with weather and climate information. In the north central region (NCR) of the United States, farmers, the agricultural sector, and policy makers are important audiences for climate science. As local and global climate conditions continue to shift and affect agricultural productivity, it is useful to understand how climatologists view their role as scientists, and how this influences their communication of climate science to agricultural stakeholders. In this study, data from interviews (N = 13) and surveys (N = 19) of state and extension climatologists in the NCR are analyzed to identify perceived roles and responsibilities as scientists and communicators. Pielke's (The honest broker: making sense of science in policy and politics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007) framework of the idealized roles of scientists and their communication patterns are used to develop a typology of climate science communication. Findings reveal that more than half of climatologists perceive their role to provide information as pure scientists, while some engage in an arbiter role when requested. Fewer climatologists view their role as not only producing new knowledge, but also relating it to society and providing an expanded variety of alternative applications. Climatologists who perceive their role as simply providing information and letting data users interpret its application are missing an opportunity to reduce the gap between what scientists know and farmers believe. This suggests that if climatologists would frame their climate science message in terms of agricultural impacts, hazard mitigation and risk management alternatives they could help the agricultural sector adapt to and mitigate environmental risks from a changing climate.

Researcher Spotlightresearch
Jenna Kink, U2U Evaluator Jenna Klink, U2U Evaluator
Jenna Klink manages the Evaluation Unit at the University of Wisconsin (UW) Environmental Resources Center, working to improve, and show the value of, climate change and natural resource programs. She began conducting social science research as part of the undergraduate "honors in research" program at UW and went on to obtain a master's degree in international health & development at Tulane. She specializes in survey research and practical air & water quality monitoring.

Jenna is responsible for developing and conducting all evaluation activities on the U2U project, with her team including Vikram Koundinya, Kim Kies and Emily McKinney. She works closely with U2U team members to monitor the internal project environment and she ensures that U2U products are, in fact, useful and usable.

Jenna lives in Madison, WI with her husband, two young kids, and all of her medicinal herbs and plants. She likes to consider this quote: "Act always as if the future of the Universe depended on what you did, while laughing at yourself for thinking that whatever you do makes any difference."

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. 

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Melissa Widhalm, Project Manager

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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.