Animal Agriculture in a Changing Climate Logo

If it ain’t broke . . .

wreck2_3-1“If it ain’t broke . . . don’t fix it!”

I inherited this philosophy from my father who lived through the Great Depression.  For a time I worked with him in his small construction business. He never threw anything away nor did he buy any new tool to replace an old one unless we had fixed it multiple times and there was just no hope of saving it again. He also struggled with adopting to new or better ways to improve productivity. The way he had always done it was the best way. Continue reading

I Am Cheating

nasa-sep-2016I thought maybe I was done with my blog posts. You may have thought the same. But, this climate change stuff really concerns me and I am not sure we are all paying attention.

I say I am ‘cheating’ because my message today is not my own. I am sending you to today’s Climate Cast blog post – a blog I follow here in MN. I would encourage you to read the complete post no matter where you are on the planet.

Here is the beginning of the post:

You could call it, “weather gone weird.” Climate out of control might be a more appropriate name.

A rare October severe weather risk in Minnesota. 100 degrees in Kansas on October 17th? The hottest September on record globally. A NASA scientist says 2016 is now “locked in” as earth’s next new ‘warmest year on record’ globally.

The thread that ties it all together? All are symptoms of a dramatically warmer planet earth. . . . keep reading

How does this affect animal agriculture? I am more inclined to think about how these kinds of changes to our climate WON’T affect animal agriculture.

. . . . . I can’t  think of anything.

My meager advice? Know your climate and how it is changing. Evaluate your vulnerabilities. Plan for it. All of this is summed up in the Adaptation Planning Guide developed by this project.

Always Considering Climate — David

David Schmidt MS. PE is a researcher and educator in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Minnesota and regional project coordinator for the project Animal Agriculture in a Changing Climate,  a national project of the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center and funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Teachable Moment

Heat Stress Cattle by Carl Dahlen- NDSU
NDSU Carl Dahlen

Teachable moments are those times when people really need the information so are ready to listen to what you have to say.

In my past life I did research and education on odors from livestock facilities. The times that my teaching efforts were most effective was when a new farm was being proposed and the citizens of the county were opposing the facility due to odor complaints. This resulted in the farmer, concerned citizens, and county board coming to me for information, and paying attention to what I said. A teachable moment.

So this past week’s severe heat and storms throughout much of the United States makes for a great teachable moment for adapting to a changing climate. One option for organizing your teaching might be the following: Continue reading

Driver of Change

Picture1There is no substitute for money.

In preparing for upgrading lesson 7 of our project’s online course, I stumbled upon a book entitled “Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st century” (National Research Council 2010). The chapter that interested me was Drivers and Constraints Affecting the Transition to Sustainable Farming Practices.

I am still not sure what “Sustainable Farming” really is, Continue reading