Developing & Sharing Knowledge

What do farmers do when they want to know what their peers are doing to contend with changing conditions? And where do Extension personnel and other agricultural support professionals turn to keep on top of current knowledge to meet farmers' needs?

Whether there's too little water in the summer or over-saturated fields at planting time.  Or threats to pollinators and other losses of critical biodiversity.  Or shifts in the timing and length of the growing season.  Or heat stress for animals - there is a lot for farmers in any sector to grapple with.                                        

Extension and other agricultural scholars and professionals are here precisely for the purpose of developing and offering critical knowledge.    And because the Center has been part of developing one new resource to help with this at the same time that colleagues have made theirs available, we thought it seemed like a good time to share.  Read on for a list of four new tools for a variety of folks working in and around farming.

1. Climate Adaptation Database

What: Online Resource Database
For: Farmers
Found at:

A collaboration between the University of Vermont Farming & Climate Change program and the University of Maine and the USDA Northeast Climate Hub ( funded by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture AFRI Foundational Program, NIFA Award #: 2017-68002-26728), it's a resource database to help farmers and their farms better adapt to climate change.  Farming & Climate Change Coordinator Joshua Faulkner says, "The hope is that the database can function as a one-stop site for farmers.  We've tried to make it easy to use for anyone seeking  information.  Farmers can search by  farm type, adaptation practice, and type of information (fact sheet, case study, tools, etc.).  We want to make it easy for farmers."

By searching the database, farmers can identify useful materials and follow links directly to the sources of that information. The resources on the database have been contributed by individuals and groups in the agricultural community in Vermont and beyond. Resources may be added by approved account members, and are reviewed by site moderators. 

For more information contact: Joshua Faulkner at


2. What do Northern New England Farmers Need to Adapt to Climate Change?

What: Research Brief
For: Agricultural advisors and interested farmers
Where to access:

This 4-page, 2019 brief summarizes a study of how Northern New England farmers are impacted by climate change, specific tools and resources they need to adapt, and the barriers they encounter. It provides insights into ways advisors can better assist farmers with climate change adaptation, and the different perspectives researchers/advisors and farmers bring to the topic. The research, a collaborative effort of the University of Vermont and University of Maine, is ongoing.   

For more information contact: Dr. Meredith T. Niles at


3. National Extension Climate Initiative

What: Curated Extension Climate Information and Programs
For: Extension professionals
Where to access:

A new effort proposed by Montana State University Extension, the "National Extension Climate Initiative" seeks work on climate change-related education and research across Extension program areas and Associations.  The intention is to build on, reinvigorate, and expand the work done by the ANREP Climate Science Initiative, with the following objectives:

  1. Communicate and share current and future work with a core group of self-selected faculty, staff and administrators representing all program areas of Extension who meet regularly via list serve, social media and video conference. 
  2. Represent participating Land Grant Universities, Associations, and related committees and organizations (i.e. ECOP and JCEP).
  3. Meet annually via each Association conferences and affirm progress.
  4. Pursue grant funding collaboratively when convenient or supported.

For more information contact: Paul LaChapelle at

4. A Breed Apart

What: Online Publication
For: Plant Breeders Seeking to Preserve Biodiversity
Found at:

This new free resource for plant breeders interested in preserving biodiversity and keeping genetic resources in the public domain was developed at Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) in partnership with Rural Advancement Foundation-USA, the guide outlines defensive publication, a low-cost and accessible method of preventing genetic material from ending up in agribusiness patents. As climate change alters growing conditions, plant biodiversity is more important than ever.

For more information contact: Molly McDonough at

Originally published in the February 2020 Fresh from the Field online newsletter. 


Cheryl Herrick
Image description: Logos from Center for Sustainable Ag., University of Maine & USDA Northeast Climate Hub
A list of partners in the Climate Adaptation Database
Image description: two women talking and smiling.
Courtesy photo from Vermont Law School.
Climate Change Adaptation at Upingill Farm