Federal Coordinating Lead Author:
Carolyn Olson, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Chapter Leads:
Prasanna Gowda, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Jean L. Steiner, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Chapter Authors:
Tracey Farrigan, USDA Economic Research Service
Michael A. Grusak, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Mark Boggess, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Review Editor:
Georgine Yorgey, Washington State University
USGCRP Coordinators:
Susan Aragon-Long, Senior Scientist
Allyza Lustig, Program Coordinator

Agriculture and Rural Communities


Process Description

Each regional author team organized a stakeholder engagement process to identify the highest-priority concerns, including priorities for agriculture and rural communities. Due to the heterogeneous nature of agriculture and rural communities, the national chapter leads (NCLs) and coauthor team put in place a structured process to gather and synthesize input from the regional stakeholder meetings. Where possible, one or more of the authors or the chapter lead author listened to stakeholder input during regional stakeholder listening sessions. Information about agriculture and rural communities was synthesized from the written reports from each regional engagement workshop. During the all-authors meeting on April 2–3, 2017, the NCL met with authors from each region and other national author teams to identify issues relevant to this chapter. To finalize our regional roll-up, a teleconference was scheduled with each regional author team to discuss agriculture and rural community issues. Most of the regional author teams identified issues related to agricultural productivity, with underlying topics dominated by drought, temperature, and changing seasonality. Grassland wildfire was identified as a concern in the Northern and Southern Great Plains. All regional author teams identified soil and water vulnerabilities as concerns, particularly as they relate to soil and water quality impacts and a depleting water supply, as well as reduced field operation days due to wet soils and an increased risk of soil erosion due to precipitation on frozen soil. Heat stress in rural communities and among agricultural workers was of concern in the Southeast, Southern Great Plains, Northwest, Hawaiʻi and Pacific Islands, U.S. Caribbean, and Northeast. Livestock health was identified as a concern in the Northeast, Midwest, U.S. Caribbean, and Southern Great Plains. Additional health-related concerns were smoke from wildfire, pesticide impacts, allergens, changing disease vectors, and mental health issues related to disasters and climate change. Issues related to the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of rural communities were identified by all regions. Discussions with the regional teams were followed by expert deliberation on the draft Key Messages by the authors and targeted consultation with additional experts. Information was then synthesized into Key Messages, which were refined based on published literature and professional judgment.


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