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Farewell! FeaturedResources

After six productive years, it is bittersweet to say farewell to the U2U project. Since 2011, the U2U team has developed five climate-based decision support tools, published 50 peer-reviewed publications, connected with agricultural stakeholders at 165 events, raised an additional $860,000 in funding to expand or leverage U2U work, and received national and local recognitions for excellence.  Over 120 faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students contributed to the U2U project over the years, and it's their hard work and dedication that have made this project such a success.

In the closing months of the project we've stayed busy with final project evaluations, publications, and transferring the U2U tools to new homes. Please enjoy this final newsletter of the U2U project, and be sure to visit for continued access to project resources and information.

Featured ResourcesResources

U2U Special Issue Published in  Climate Risk Management
Ten new publications featuring the U2U project were published in the 
March 2017 issue of the journal Climate Risk Management.  Papers in this U2U-focused issue are openaccess and highlight new social science analysis on farmers' and advisors' perceptions of climate risks, detailed information about our decision tools and project evaluation methods, and more.

U2U Evaluation Survey Data

The U2U team has added three new survey data summaries  to the U2U website  and two full datasets to the Purdue University Research Repository (PURR). PURR is a Purdue-managed system that allows researchers to store and publically share research data, adding strength the scientific process and transparency to federally-funded research.  
Ajay Singh, Jackie Getson, Laura Esman, Vikram Koundinya, Jenna Klink, Amber Mase, Tonya Haigh, Melissa Widhalm, Linda Prokopy. (2017). "Farmers' Climate Risk Perceptions and Use of Climate Information: 2016 Survey Data." Purdue University Research Repository. DOI forthcoming. Embargo until Nov. 30, 2018.

Vikram Koundinya, Jenna Klink, Amber Mase, Courtney Robinson, Tonya Haigh, Ajay Singh, Sarah Church, Melissa Widhalm, Linda Prokopy. (2017). "Advisors' Climate Risk Perceptions and Use of Climate Information: 2016 Survey Data." Purdue University Research Repository. DOI forthcoming. Embargo until Nov. 30, 2018.

 Have you highlighted the U2U decision support tools in your Extension programming, used them in the classroom , or recommended them to a client? If so, we'd like to hear from you! Tell us about your success story today.
Tool Tips and Updates tool

Effective May 31, 2017 when you visit any of the U2U decision support tools you will be prompted to access the tool(s) from the High Plains Regional Climate Center (HPRCC) or Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC) websites. Partnering with the HPRCC and MRCC allows tool users seamless access to the ag-climate products they've come to trust, and it will enable future enhancements for even greater decision support. 

Reaching Out reaching

New Fact Sheets Now Available 

The U2U team has developed a final series of fact sheets that summarize key project outcomes and impacts. 

Publications Publications

New article in Earth Interactions 

N iyogi, D, E.M. Jacobs, X. Liu, A. Kumar, L.L. Biehl, and P.S.C. Rao. In Press. "Assessment of a long-term high resolution hydroclimatic dataset for the U.S. Midwest." Earth Interactions doi:10.1175/EI-D-16-0022.1 

A new, high-resolution (4 km), gridded land surface dataset produced with the Land Information System (LIS) is introduced, and the first set of synthesis of key hydroclimatic variables is reported. The dataset is produced over a 33-year time period (1980-2012) for the U.S. Midwest with the intent to aid the agricultural community in understanding hydroclimatic impacts on crop production and decision making in operational practices. While approximately 20 hydroclimatic variables are available through the LIS dataset, the focus here is on soil water content, soil temperature and evapotranspiration. To assess the performance of the model, the LIS dataset is compared with in-situ hydrometeorological observations across the study domain and with coarse-resolution reanalysis products (NARR, MERRA, NLDAS-2). In agricultural regions such as the U.S. Midwest, fine scale hydroclimatic mapping that links the regional scale to the field scale is necessary. The new dataset provides this link as an intermediate-scale product that links point observations and coarse gridded datasets. In general, the LIS dataset compares well with in situ observations and coarser gridded products in terms of both temporal and spatial patterns, but cases of strong disagreement exist particularly in areas with sandy soils. The dataset is made available to the broader research community as an effort to fill the gap in spatial hydroclimatic data availability. (Access Full Article)

View full list of U2U publications

From 2011-2017 the U2U team has published over 100 book chapters, journal articles, extension publications, magazine articles, and dissertations. Additionally, team members have given over 160 scientific presentations at more than 105 different professional conference and meetings. (Access full U2U publication list)

Researcher Spotlight research

Together, Linda Prokopy and Melissa Widhalm have provided core operational and strategic support for the U2U project over the last six years.  Linda Prokopy was the U2U Project Director and is Professor in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University. She is actively engaged in research, teaching, and extension related to human interactions with the environment. Linda leads the Natural Resources Social Science (NRSS) lab and is the Director of the Indiana Water Resources Research Center. 

As U2U Project Director, Linda was responsible for overall management of the project, facilitating and maintaining relationships with project personnel and stakeholders, and leading social science research within the project. She authored 20 peer-reviewed publications from U2U research including breakthrough work on the role of agricultural advisors in farm management and visioning a new role for university Extension to support climate risk management. 

When she's not in the office, Linda enjoys reading post-apocalyptic fiction, hiking in the woods, and spending time with her husband and three children. You can learn more about Linda's research on her website and/or follow her on Twitter

Melissa Widhalm, U2U Project Manager, was responsible for facilitating the successful completion of U2U project objectives and deliverables. She managed day-to-day project coordination, communication, reporting, and budgeting in addition to providing support for research and dissemination. Melissa is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP)Ò with a passion for applied climate science and public engagement. Prior to joining the Purdue University  staff in 2011, Melissa was with the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, NE. 

In her spare time, Melissa participates in citizen science projects observing the weather and the natural environment. She also enjoys photography, volunteering in the community, and spending time with family and friends. After U2U, Melissa will be working with the Purdue Climate Change Research Center overseeing the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment project and assisting with various other Center activities.

U2U Team 2017


About Us: 

Useful to Usable (U2U) is a multi-institution research and extension project focused on improving the resilience and profitability of farms in the North Central U.S. amid a more variable and changing climate. Through the development and dissemination of decision support tools, resource materials and training, we strive to transform existing climate information into actionable knowledge for more effective decision making. 

Melissa Widhalm, Project Manager

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This project is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2011-68002-30220 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.