Iowa Smart Agriculture Initiative

Solutions from the Land and Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are supporting a special self-directed Work Group, composed of Iowa agricultural thought leaders and value chain partners, who together are exploring and assessing the impacts that extreme weather events and changing climatic conditions are having and are expected to have on the state’s number one industry. Farmers, agribusinesses and rural communities across the state are already experiencing the impacts of climate change and know that the threats to their livelihood are increasing. The overarching goal of this project is to inspire and empower agricultural leaders to become leaders in the broader discussion of climate smart agriculture (CSA), including adaptation and mitigation strategies. Goals include:
  • Assist Iowa agriculture leaders in examining the potential vulnerabilities and opportunities created by changing climatic conditions in ways that are relevant to their daily lives;
  • Equip producers with the tools and knowledge they need to make informed decisions and manage new risks under changing conditions; and
  • Mobilize thought leaders to advocate for needed changes in land use practices, research, education, and policy.
Through the Iowa Smart Agriculture Initiative, agricultural, business, academic, government and conservation leaders are examining ways to keep Iowa agriculture profitable while providing nutritious food, clean energy, and ecosystem services such as water filtration and carbon sequestration. History

The inaugural meeting of the Iowa Smart Agriculture Work Group was held July 9, 2018, in Corning, Iowa. This exploratory effort approached questions such as "What conditions are you experiencing on your farm or in your operation?" "What is the state of knowledge about the conditions producers will encounter going forward?" "Are adequate adaptation strategies/plans in place to meet the challenges producers are facing?"

As producers agreed that there was a need for more discussion of these topics, a second Work Group meeting was held at the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment on August 29, 2019. Presenters such as Dennis Todey, Midwest Regional Climate Hub and Jerry Hatfield, USDA, ARS presented and facilitated conversations between farmers on climate mitigation, adaptation, and what science tells us to expect for current and future conditions in Iowa. A vision for the future of Iowa's agriculture and its role in a changing climate emerged. Activities: Iowa Smart Agriculture Forum
To continue the task of the Work Group and open the conversation to more stakeholders, the Iowa Smart Agriculture Initiative hosted a special forum on climate change in partnership with the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. This event explored the impacts that extreme weather events and changing climatic conditions are having on the state’s agriculture sector and the solutions that Iowa producers can sustainably deliver from the land.

See media coverage of the Forum below: