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Climate Change - So What?

Marshall and St. Joseph County SWCDs recently hosted an educational workshop. Among the speakers was Melissa Widhalm from Purdue Climate Change Research Center. Melissa is a 5’ tall, petite young female academic. The audience was primarily 60 something year old, male farmers. It was an interesting dynamic and I wondered if she was familiar with the Zig Ziglar quote “…. Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise.’ The choice is yours.” Fortunately, Melissa stayed and faced us.

The key findings of the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment report, published March 1, 2018.

· Indiana has already warmed 1.2 degrees F since 1895. Temperatures are projected to rise about 5-6 degrees by mid-century, with significantly more warming by century’s end.

· The number of extremely hot days with temperatures of 95 degrees F or higher will rise significantly in all parts of the state. In the past, southern Indiana averaged about seven such days per year, but by mid-century the region is projected to experience 38 to 51 extremely hot days per year.

· Average annual precipitation has increased 5.6 inches since 1895 and more rain is falling in heavy downpours. Winters and springs are likely to be much wetter by mid-century, while changes in summer and fall precipitation are less certain.

Table setting at workshop. Unlocking the Secrets of the Soil.

These changes will have a huge effect on Indiana agriculture. It’s encouraging to see a room full of Hoosier farmers listening and learning about this important topic. We all need to learn as much as possible about climate change and what we can do to adapt. It will also take research and innovation to help farmers continue to grow our food in this changing climate.

For more information about the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment, visit

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