From the Ground Up: The State of the States on Climate Adaptation for Agriculture

Recognizing the leading role that states are playing in addressing climate change, this report from the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy catalogues policies related to the need for agricultural adaptation in the 18 states states with climate adaptation plans (or specific agricultural policy papers). These states include: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. The Institute identifies the adaptation strategies recommended by each state, and what strategies are most commonly proposed among states.

Each state’s adaptation plan is evaluated through a framework based off of agriculture adaptation strategies from a 2016 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report entitled Adaptation Resources for Agriculture.” The ten adaptation strategies used for this analysis of each state address criteria for sustaining soil function; increasing policy, technical, and financial support for producers; reducing risks from warmer and more extreme weather; and using adaptive farm management and crop selection to prepare for changing conditions before they happen.

This report highlights a few key findings, including that:

  • The strategies that are currently popular among states are often either designed to offer technical and financial assistance to farmers, or very narrowly focused on protecting soil and water quality.
  • More ambitious changes, whether to protect biodiversity or to adopt more resilient production methods, on the other hand, are not being given much attention at the state level. This is also true for investments in agricultural infrastructure related to adaptation.

The report highlights the need to work with farmers to develop adaptation plans, and offers some evidence that such plans are gaining traction at local levels. It suggests that resources must be made available to farmers but that, even with access to funds, adoption of an adaptation plan does not guarantee that it will be well implemented.


Publication Date: March 2018

Related Organizations:

  • The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Best practice
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

States Affected:

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