Climate Smart Ag efforts gain momentum

Colorado State University’s expanding Climate Smart Agriculture initiatives deepened its international focus as a four-member group from Fort Collins traveled to Rome earlier this summer for the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization office. The GACSA forum focused on the three pillars of CSA: productivity, adaptation and mitigation.

Vice President for Research Alan Rudolph at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization office in Rome.
Vice President for Research Alan Rudolph at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization office in Rome.

The CSU delegation, which included Office of Engagement Vice President Lou Swanson, Vice President for Research Alan Rudolph, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences Professor Rajiv Khosla, and Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Professor Dennis Ojima, further reinforced the university’s leadership in the area of climate smart agriculture.

“Colorado State had the largest presence among U.S. universities at the Rome forum,” Swanson said. “We are a founding member of GACSA, and are working in a number of areas across campus, around the state and globally to further develop effective socioeconomic and ecological programs that address challenges associated with changing weather patterns, especially in terms of producer adaptability and resiliency. We do so by co-creating programs and developing applied research in conjunction with Colorado’s farming and ranching communities.”

CSU’s Climate Smart Agriculture effort brings together an impressive number of partners from across campus including the Office of the Vice President for Research, Colorado Water Institute, CSU Extension, CSU Online, School of Global Environment Sustainability, College of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Colorado Climate Center, and Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, among others. The university also works on climate smart ag issues with universities in China, Ethiopia and Kenya.

CSA campus initiatives

Rome CSA conference_June2016
Attendees of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Ag conference in Rome.

The Rome meeting comes on the heels of two very successful on-campus events held recently. Earlier this summer, the Focus on Climate Smart Agriculture forum drew over 120 participants from campus, the agriculture industry and business interests around Colorado to the Lory Student Center. Two weeks later, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack came to CSU for a roundtable discussion on CSA with researchers and industry representatives.

And the momentum will continue.

“We plan to offer educational modules and programs and planning and risk management tools for Colorado agriculture,” said Swanson. “The goals of these initiatives are to reduce the vulnerability of agriculture to a changing climate, including extreme weather events, and to assist our producers in being more nimble and economically resilient in national and global markets. It will be a work in progress, and one that CSU will address head-on.”