Log In or Register
HomeLocal NewsState NewsSportsOpinionObituariesAgriculture
Quick Links
  Home
  My Bulletin
  Contact The Bulletin

Marketplace
  Display Ads
  Classifieds
  Dir. of Advertisers

Opinion

Facing gridlock, Italy turns to Norris’ proposal

Mail: Thanks from the Poe family

More opinion

Ag News

Guest opinion: Ethanol policy and the economy

UNL hosts climate agriculture workshop Nov. 19 in Holdrege

More Ag News


Email Article | Print Article
Agriculture - Ag News
 
Climate change impacts being feltTell North Platte what you think
 
Photo by 
Courtesy Photo­Image
Charles "Chuck" Hibberd
Courtesy Photo­Image
Mike Kelly

Climate change already is being felt around the world, and society must figure out how to adapt to the changes already underway and mitigate the severity of future impacts, experts said last week at a global Water for Food Conference at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

NebraskaLand National BankYou've got a
facebook Request!
CLICK HERE!

The fifth annual conference at the University of Nebraska had a theme of "Too Hot, Too Wet, Too Dry: Building Resilient Agroecosystems."

Managing climate change is one key factor in feeding a global population expected to grow from 7-9 billion by 2050.

"Climate change is happening right now," Heidi Cullen, chief climatologist for Climate Central, told reporters. Scientists have measured an average temperature increase of 1.5 degrees on the planet, with the potential for a 7-11 degree increase.

"As the planet warms we expect to see more extreme events," said Cullen, whose Climate Central is a nonprofit science journalism organization. Those will include longer heat waves and droughts and more heavy rainfall events.

Rosina Bierbaum, a professor of natural resources and environment at the University of Michigan, said recent events such as Hurricane Sandy "make it clear we're not prepared to cope with the droughts and floods of today, let alone the increase in these events in the future."

The good news, Bierbaum said, is that thousands of efforts are underway across the U.S., with many of them showing promise. Assembling useful information on best practices is key to adapting to already existing change and mitigating future change, she added.

Christo Fabricius, who has spent more than 20 years working on natural resource issues in sub-Saharan Africa, one of the world's epicenters for the looming water for food challenge, also warned about the threat of climate change in a world where "219,000 new people need food every day."

Sixty-six nations cannot now produce enough food for their populations, and significant investments in research and extension are needed to help reverse that. Unfortunately, sub-Saharan Africa spends an average of just 1 percent of its agricultural GDP on research and extension, said Fabricius, who leads the sustainability research unit of the Resilience Alliance at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa.


Chuck Hibberd

In the U.S. a robust research and extension tradition helped producers and others deal with the 2012 flash drought, said Charles Hibberd, the Dean of University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension who grew up in Lexington. Drought occurs routinely in the region and land-grant universities such as UNL have worked with producers for decades to develop strategies to deal with it, as well as to reduce water use even in good times.

"We're always preparing for drought," Hibberd said.

Better irrigation technology and practices have developed, as have other extension-promoted management techniques such as skip-row planting, all of which have helped producers use water more efficiently, Hibberd said.

But last year's drought developed and spread so quickly, it caught many by surprise. Hibberd said extension was able to rapidly deliver "just-in-time information" to producers to help them deal with the crisis. Those efforts have continued through the winter as the drought is expected to linger and have consequences this year.

Producers from Brazil, Nebraska and Colorado discussed their efforts to build resilient, sustainable operations that can weather change.


Mike Kelly

For example, Mike Kelly, whose ranch sits at the southern edge of Nebraska's Sandhills north of Sutherland, worked with federal and state partners to revamp a section of the Birdwood Creek that runs through his land. A previous owner had straightened more than a mile of it, resulting in faster water flow that reduced the area's water table.

The project restored the creek's original, meandering path, which has restored the water table and improved grass production along it.


Duke Phillips

Duke Phillips, who owns and operates two large diversified ranching businesses in Colorado, said he thinks ranchers, a dwindling breed, have a responsibility to help educate urban dwellers.

To that end, he welcomes to his ranch about 2,000 kids who think "cowboys are out riding horses and shooting guns."

His dude ranch puts visitors to work and is home to concerts and art exhibits.

"My goal has changed from trying to create my own world to trying to create an opportunity for people to get together and learn about each other," Phillips said.

During its first two days, the conference drew about 400 people from around the world who are working to overcome the urgent challenge of growing more food with less water.

Additional information about the 2013 Water for Food Conference is online at: http://waterforfood.nebraska.edu/wff2013. The conference, sponsored by Monsanto, continues through Wednesday.

The conference was hosted by the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


Like this story to send to your facebook

The North Platte Bulletin - Published 5/13/2013
Copyright © 2013 northplattebulletin.com - All rights reserved.
Flatrock Publishing, Inc. - 1300 E 4th St., Suite F - North Platte, NE 69101
 
Show me Talk Back during this visit
 
 


Copyright © 2003 - 2014 northplattebulletin.com
All rights reserved.

Flatrock Publishing, Inc.
1300 E 4th St., Suite F
North Platte, NE 69101

 
Your Ip Address - 54.226.21.57
North Platte, Nebraska