At the 85th Annual OACD State Meeting, Farm Director, KC Sheperd, sat down with Extension Specialist for Agriculture and Food Policy, Amy Hagerman. Prior to her presentation, Hagerman talks to Sheperd about a Climate Informed Agriculture Survey conducted recently, presented in partnership with OSU Extension, USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub, and USDA NRCS.
As a significant amount of funding has come down the pipeline for climate-smart agriculture, Hagerman said there has been a lot of interest in using those funds for programs regarding adaptation to climate change.
“The Southern Plains Climate Hub approached me to work together with them, with NRCS, with the districts in the state, to try to get a handle among their people- these front-line workers in conservation, of their perspectives of climate change, of adaptation programs and how we can best utilize these funds that are coming to do the most good for Oklahomans,” Hagerman said.
A survey was recently implemented at each of the five area conservation district meetings, Hagerman said, and individuals at these meetings had the chance to share what they have experienced with these programs. The survey, aimed at advocating for conservation, was very specific to the individuals questioned.
Most individuals were concerned with how to best adapt and respond to environmental/climate changes seen in Oklahoma, Hagerman said, and to continue improvement into the future.
“It was very well received,” Hagerman said. “Again, these are these front-line people who are conservation advocates, so they are really watching what is happening in the conservation space. What is happening to land and to weather, and how these programs have worked in the past for helping address some of these challenges, and how they can be used in the future as well.”
The survey found many individuals have concerns such as increased fluctuations in climate, changes in bird species arrivals and departures, consequences to local economies, including show and dust storms, and more.
One of the best parts of the survey, Hagerman said, was hearing the success stories of how the programs have helped reduce soil erosion, increased water retention and more.
“Eventually, we are going to have some publicly facing outcomes from the survey results,” Hagerman said. “They haven’t all totally been cleared yet for public release, but eventually, yes, through the Oklahoma State website and then also through the Southern Plains Climate Hub, there will be information on what we found and what some of the ideas were that people put forward.”
The next steps for the survey, Hagerman said, will be finishing up the report and getting the information out to the public. Conversations from Hagerman’s presentation at the OACD meeting will be utilized in the report as well, she added.
“We do want this to be an ongoing conversation going forward into the future,” Hagerman said. “Then, from there, maybe we reach out to some additional groups. This was a pretty targeted group of individuals that we talked to, and it is a great place to start, but maybe there are some other groups of individuals that we really want to get similar sorts of information on so we get that broader cross-section of ideas and concerns going forward.”