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We just released a policy brief with our initial analysis of the structure of Twitter networks centered on California agriculture. Starting with 153 users identified as relevant to California agriculture by the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, we traced the followers and followees of the initial group to identify approximately 59K Twitter users. The results clearly support the idea that social media outlets like Twitter can be a valuable aspect of strategic communications, education, and outreach about agriculture and the environment. Among the most interesting findings are:
1. The network is divided into 10 communities including climate, food, water, agriculture, plant sciences, politics, international development, viticulture, gardening, and animal welfare.
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
It was great to connect with Bob Bertsch today, from North Dakota State University. He is a communications specialist who runs a podcast called "Working Differently in Extension". We had a conversation about the idea of Extension 3.0, and how it relates to the traditional model of Cooperative Extension. It was very interesting to hear how he is thinking about some of the same ideas, and facing some of the same challenges in forwarding the idea. Click here for a direct link to the podcast.
It is nice to have the Center's research reach a broader audience. In this case, the research on climate change and agriculture headed by Meredith Niles. Check out the Capital Public Radio interview
Meredith's work on climate change policy has just received a lot of media attention. Listen to the story here:
And view some coverage here:
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.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
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.
We're in the middle of the climate-smart agriculture conference here at UC Davis, which is the third of a series of international conferences focused on how agriculture will adapt to climate change. I have met fascinating people from all over the world involved in important research and on-the-ground actions. It has been gratifying to see lots of people mentioning the importance of social science analysis of decision-making, policy and governance. In the spirit of the conference, I thought I might ask my six-year old son about water and farming. The conversation was enlightening to some of the themes of the conference:
Me: If you were a farmer growing crops with rain, what would you do if the rain stopped?
Son: I would take a bunch of watering cans and fill them up and use them on the plants.
Me: Where would you get the water for the watering cans?
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%.
The Yolo County climate change project was recently featured on some national environmental news outlets. We are now part of the national network of researchers working on these issues.