Inside RMFU: Ag Topics Of The Day
Building Ag Production Resilience To Survive Severe Weather Events
Weather extremes cause financial stress that can break farm and ranch operations. Widespread flooding or drought on any given year robs producers of crops to sell while pushing up prices for livestock feed, if it’s even available.
Dr. Laura Lengnick, author of “Resilient Agriculture, Cultivating Food Systems For a Changing Climate,” says agricultural practices and policies are adapting to address severe weather events. Regardless of the debate over what is driving climate change – or whether it is even occurring – many industries are looking at ways to remain viable during and following extreme weather, she explains. Agriculture is an industry that is at high risk when drought and flooding become more frequent and intense.
As a soil scientist, Lengnick has traveled the world to find out what is, and what isn’t, working for farmers and ranchers who manage all types and sizes of operations. She has shared her knowledge with businesses, higher education, government entities, and farmers.
Lengnick spoke at three RMFU-sponsored events held in Colorado this past week. She focused on the topics of weather extremes, building resilience into agricultural production at all levels and in all sectors, and growing a food system that uses local and regional strengths. In addition to using economic and technology tools, communities can build assets using social and natural tools that are often overlooked yet readily at hand, she notes.
She says key resilience practices are already being employed by some Colorado producers. These include building soil health, improving water management, tapping diverse high-value markets, and embracing biodiversity such as cover crops in rotational use.