UMaine researchers to receive USDA funds for climate adaption project with UVM – I. Fernandez

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced on July 19 nine grants totaling more than $8 million to study and develop new approaches for the agriculture sector to adapt to and mitigate the effects of changing environmental conditions.

The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, according to the USDA news release.

Among the grants announced is $248,900 to the University of Vermont for a collaborative project that aims to support managers of land-based businesses, such as farms and forests, to independently plan, initiate and complete climate change-focused outreach, adaptation strategies, and peer-to-peer learning.

“The Climate Adaptation Fellowship: A collaborative curriculum design project” includes University of Maine researchers Ivan Fernandez, a professor of soil science and forest resources in the School of Forest Resources and cooperating professor in the Climate Change Institute; Glen Koehler, an associate scientist of integrated pest management with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension; and Richard Kersbergen, a UMaine Extension professor and educator.

The project and related research grows out of the regional collaboration made possible by the USDA Northeast Climate Hub. UMaine participates in the hub as one of the university partners, and Fernandez serves as UMaine’s representative. Fernandez, Koehler and Kersbergen also participate in the UMaine-based Maine Climate and Agriculture Network.