Climate Camp 2014

amandahooverThe following post is by guest blogger Amanda Hoover.  Amanda is an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Continental Local Schools in Continental, Ohio. She is a graduate of South Dakota State University, one of the 10 partner institutions involved in the Sustainable Corn Project.  You can follow Amanda on Twitter: To learn more about how our Education team is training the next generation of scientists, developing science education curricula and promoting learning opportunities for high school teachers and students through this USDA-NIFA funded project click here.

For many kids, summertime means camp time. During June 2014, this was true for some of their teachers, too! Twenty science and agriculture teachers, including myself, met on the campus of Iowa State University campus for Climate Camp.

Sponsored by the Sustainable Corn Project, the camp was a great opportunity for teachers, climate experts, and sustainable agriculture experts to network and learn from one another.  One of my favorite things about being an agriculture teacher is the ‘family’ atmosphere within the profession. I love attending events to not only meet other Ag teachers, but also to learn from them. Having the chance to interact with science teachers, and helping them understand the vast connections between science and agriculture, and how they can incorporate ag into their curricula, was an added bonus! Continue reading

NOAA Seasonal Outlook – Cooler in the Northern Corn Belt This Summer?

On June 19, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center released their latest monthly and seasonal outlook of temperature and precipitation for the US. One of the factors that will likely come into play this fall and winter is the developing El Niño event in the Pacific Ocean. Here is the breakdown of the outlooks. Unshaded areas show an equal chance of above, below, or near-average conditions and are labeled “EC”. Click on any map to enlarge.


There is an increased chance of cooler-than-average conditions in July for eastern Montana and Wyoming, northeast Colorado, western Nebraska, and nearly all of the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The rest of the Corn Belt is in the “EC” category. At the same time, the Southeast has an increased chance of warmer-than-average conditions.

For precipitation, there is an increased chance of drier-than-average conditions in southern Missouri and Illinois. Meanwhile, there is an increased chance of wetter-than-average conditions in the Rockies and the western portions of the High Plains that could bring some relief to parts of drought-stricken Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas.


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Working for a more Resilient Agriculture

On June 3 a strong storm system moved across Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois with large hail and heavy rain. The storm was significant enough to make the national news with the National Weather Service reporting large hail, winds up to 85 mph and rainfall in excess of 4 inches.

Storm Prediction Center -

Storm Prediction Center –

The Iowa Daily Erosion Project showed localized soil erosion nearing 7 tons per acre from this one storm event in southwest Iowa.

Iowa Daily Erosion Project - June 3, 2014

Iowa Daily Erosion Project – June 3, 2014

The soil loss was so significant that Jon Bakehouse, a southwest Iowa farmer, was moved to write the following on the Practical Farmers of Iowa cover crop listserve.  Continue reading