Iowa Learning Farms’ February Webinar Offers Information on Iowa Rainfall



AMES, IOWA — “Will the rain ever stop?” is the title of the Iowa Learning Farms (ILF) February webinar, to be held noon Wednesday, Feb. 16. ILF is hosting a series of webinars on the third Wednesday of each month. The webinars will be held over the noon hour through Adobe Connect.  All that is needed is a computer with Internet access.

Christopher J. Anderson, assistant director of the Climate Science Program at Iowa State University, is this month’s presenter. He will discuss the increasing Iowa rainfall amounts and the implications this has on the agricultural industry.

The Climate Science Program, headed by Eugene Takle, explores the discipline of meteorology, but emphasizes climate as opposed to weather. Climate science is the study of aggregate weather events over certain time periods, whereas meteorology is the study of individual events. The Climate Science Program works with regional climate change data and then transforms the data into information that decision-makers can use. Decision-makers include people working with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Army Corp of Engineers — virtually anyone dealing with soil and water and affected by climate.

“We look seasons ahead to decades ahead and help to interpret what the models mean,” Anderson said.

A clear trend in the United States is the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation in the Northeastern and Central states. How is the agricultural industry adapting to these trends? Seed genetics, implement design, planting and harvesting schedules, and more are being modified to withstand higher precipitation.

The long-term impact all of this has on the farming community is crucial. Farm management will need to adapt. “Grandchildren will run the farm very differently than it is being run today,” Anderson said. “The farms will still be there, but may look very different.”

To connect to the webinars, go to: http://connect.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/. Visit the ILF website to download a PDF file with detailed instructions. Also, watch the ILF website for topics and speakers for the remainder of 2011, www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf, as well as archived sessions to view.

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