The Roundup -

ARS Brownbagger Looks At Agricultural Adaptation To Climate Change In Montana


As climate change continues to influence Montana rangelands, crops and livestock, as well as pollinators, diseases, pests and weeds, scientists continue to look for ways farmers, ranchers and land managers can adapt to those changes. Dr. Bruce Maxwell, director of the Montana State University’s Institute on Ecosystems, will be discussing some of those options at a special BrownBagger this Friday, April 5, at the USDA- Agricultural Research Service’s Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory (NPARL) in Sidney.

Describing his upcoming presentation, Dr. Maxwell said he will be giving a talk “centered on agricultural adaptation to climate change and the important lessons learned from ecology about site-specific knowledge, monitoring and adaptive management.” His presentation begins at noon at the Sidney ARS lab, located at 1500 N. Central Avenue in Sidney.

Climate change and adaptation are topics of particular interest to Dr. Maxwell, who, in addition to his leadership of the IOE, is also Professor of Applied Plant Ecology/Agroecology in the Land Resources and Environmental Sciences department at Montana State University – Bozeman. His current research is looking at how changes in climate, crop price and input management may interact to drive agroecosystems over sustainability thresholds, as well as studying variables influencing the rate of plant invasions. He is also the recipient of several national teaching awards.

As part of his duties at the IOE, Dr. Maxwell helped organize the Montana Climate Assessment (MCA) project, developed to assess the state’s climate to describe past and future climate trends that affect different sectors of the State’s economy. The first assessment, released in September 2017, focuses on climate issues that affect agriculture, forests, and water resources in Montana.

The Agriculture chapter of that report which, in addition to more general information on climate influences, also analyzes climate change effects for some specific commodity crops in Montana including spring and winter wheat, corn, sugar beets, potatoes and organic grains. According to the report, attention is paid to the uncertainties around identifying and predicting climate change effects on agriculture, but also that “no Montana producer is guaranteed the status quo - change is happening, even if we cannot yet unravel all its components.” To access the full 2017 MCA report in addition to videos, related news, and outreach events, please visit .

The MCA project involves university researchers, decision makers, and other stakeholders with the goal of providing timely and relevant information for the citizens of the State. The 2017 Montana Climate Assessment report was developed with support from university faculty and students, state and federal agency researchers, non-profit organizations, resource managers, and the public.

NPARL invites all interested persons to join us for what promises to be a very informative discussion this Friday, Apr 5, beginning at noon. Bring your lunch; we’ll provide the dessert!

This is the last NPARL BrownBagger for 2019. For questions or more information, contact Beth Redlin at 406-433-9427 or [email protected]


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