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How Will Farmers Respond to the California Drought?

By Meredith Niles - Posted on 12 February 2014

How will farmers respond to the drought? Following recent announcements about potential zero allocations from the California State Water Project, and the likelihood for other water allocations to follow suit, many are wondering how California agriculture will cope with the recent drought. The Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior is today releasing a new policy brief designed to answer this very question.

Using data from a farmer survey conducted by UC Davis researchers in 2011 in the Central Valley (Yolo County), we discuss farmers water uses in dry and normal years, their likely drought adaptation strategies, and how different kinds of water uses are likely to adopt different practices.

The main takeaways are:
1) Farmers shift away from surfacewater to groundwater in dry years

New Zealand Media Highlights Climate Change and Agriculture Project

By Meredith Niles - Posted on 06 June 2013

Two recent media articles have highlighted the climate change and agriculture project in New Zealand. Today the New Zealand Dominion Post- a Wellington, policy-oriented newspaper, published an article titled, "Rules Worry More than Droughts-Study", highlighting survey results from the Hawke's Bay and Marlborough New Zealand studies. The research found, in part, that New Zealand farmers, just like California farmers, are most concerned about climate related risks from government regulations and economic impacts than biophysical impacts related to water and temperature. Yesterday, Radio New Zealand ran a radio interview with Meredith Niles, the PhD student conducting the research study.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/8766649/Rules-worry-more-than-dr...

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ruralnews/audio/2557676/mid... (Interview begins at 2:20)

New Policy Briefs Highlight Existing and Future Farmer Practices to Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change

By Meredith Niles - Posted on 23 April 2013

Today the Center is pleased to release two new policy briefs from the Agriculture and Climate Change Project. The briefs focus on understanding the climate change adaptation and mitigation practices that farmers in New Zealand have already adopted and are likely to adopt in the future. The data comes from a series of interviews and a telephone survey conducted in Hawke's Bay and Marlborough, New Zealand in the Autumn of 2012.

New Policy Briefs: New Zealand Farmers' Climate Change Attitudes

By Meredith Niles - Posted on 10 March 2013

Today the Center is releasing two new policy briefs outlining the first key details in the New Zealand Climate Change and Agriculture project. The study involved a series of interviews with farmers, agricultural industry professionals and local policymakers as well as a survey of farmers in the Hawkes Bay and Marlborough regions of New Zealand between July-October 2012.

Initial results suggest some clear similarities between New Zealand farmers and California farmers (as reported earlier). For example, in Hawkes Bay and Marlborough, New Zealand 51% and 53% of farmers respectively believe the global climate is changing. In California, 54% of farmers agreed with this statement. As well, there are similar patterns for the role of humans in climate change- 37% in Hawkes Bay and 45% in Marlborough agree that humans have a role in climate change; in California this number was 35%.

Sequestration- The Policy Kind, Not the Carbon Kind: The biggest science issue scientists aren't talking about

By Meredith Niles - Posted on 17 September 2012

I’m a policy wonk, I’ll admit it. Politico, the US Senate and US House of Representatives webpages are bookmarked on my web browser. I am also a scientist, and for the past years have been working to combine these two interests towards a career in science policy. As a graduate student, I understand the daily demands of academic life for my fellow students,teachers and advisers. Teaching, advising and running experiments while trying to crank out academic publications every year is not an easy task. So, for many scientists there are simply not enough hours in the day to engage in science policy debates and advocacy. But right now scientists in the United States are facing one of the greatest policy issues of our time- sequestration.

New Policy and Research Briefs on Farmer Perspectives of Climate Change

By Meredith Niles - Posted on 09 February 2012

Today at the Center we are pleased to announce the release of two new research and policy briefs for the climate change and agriculture project. Based on the results of a survey with farmers in Yolo County, California, these briefs discuss farmer perspectives of climate change adaptation and mitigation, adoption of practices to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and future concerns related to climate change. The first brief on farmers’ climate change attitudes highlights farmer perspectives on climate change including their belief in climate change, the risks and opportunities it presents, and whether humans are causing climate change. Some of the key findings include:

• A slight majority of farmers agree (54%) that the global climate is changing. Fewer agree that global temperatures are increasing (38%) and that human activities are an important cause of climate change (35%).

Commentary: Senator Coburn calls social science research a "waste"

By Meredith Niles - Posted on 02 June 2011

On May 26, Senator Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, released a report titled, " The National Science Foundation Under the Microscope" in which he detailed his perspective on wasteful government funding at the National Science Foundation. In his Press Release, Senator Coburn notes, "Investing in innovation and discovery can transform our lives, advance our understanding of the world and create new jobs." Yet, he spend the majority of the report singling out particular social, behavioral and economic research projects and grants that he considers to be "wasteful". Senator Coburn even goes so far to recommend, "Eliminate NSF’s Social, Behavioral, and Economics (SBE) Directorate ($255 million in FY 2010). The social sciences should not be the focus of our premier basic scientific research agency."

NEWSLETTER Volume 1

By Meredith Niles - Posted on 05 January 2011

The first in our series of newsletters featuring articles and commentary from the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior.

Dispatch: Climate Change Co-Benefits: New Opportunities for Policy?

By Meredith Niles - Posted on 16 November 2010

(Originally published on Grist)

This week I’ve been attending the 3rd annual Governor’s Global Climate Summit at UC Davis, where I am a PhD student in Ecology. With only a month and a few days left until Arnold finishes his term as governor of “the great state of California” as he calls it, he’s pulled out all the stops to be sure that his legacy of climate work is remembered. But perhaps more interesting has been the undertone of the conference: recognizing the co-benefits to other areas when we address climate change.

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