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This tool lets you explore the profitability of installing irrigation equipment at user-selected locations across the Corn Belt. 

This FREE online tool combines historical weather data, soil data, and crop model data with specific cost and loan information to help you decide if this long-term investment can be profitable. The Irrigation Investment DST is designed to help you: 
  • Determine if irrigation investment is profitable for your specific operation
  • Understand the financial impact of changing your corn/soybean rotation schedule with and without irrigation 
  • Monitor irrigation investment potential throughout the entire Corn Belt
Check out the " About Irrigation" webpage for detailed information on how this tool was developed and to find a list of frequently asked questions.

 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

U2U AgClimate View Updated 
You can now access 2015 county yield 
data and updated yield trends for all locations  within  the AgClimate View tool. Yield data are available for both corn and soybeans dating back to 1980.

Reaching Out reaching

New Report Highlights Lessons Learned from U2U-CSCAP Projects 

The U2U and CSCAP projects have released 
a new report detailing the lessons learned
from social science research and the experiences of a team of university extension and outreach educators. The research findings provide a deep understanding of the beliefs and knowledge of farmers and other agricultural stakeholders at the intersection of climate and agriculture. The experienced extension educators also provide insights into how to talk with farmers and other agricultural stakeholders about climate change. 

Recordings from Past Conferences Now Available 
2016 American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting 
2015 ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting 

New article in Weather and Climate Extremes 

Kellner, O. D. Niyogi, and F.D. Marks. 2016. "Land-falling Tropical System Rainfall Contribution to the Hydroclimate of the Eastern U.S. Corn Belt 1981-2012." Wea. and Clim. Extremes.

This study provides a climatology (1981-2012) of landfalling tropical systems in the eastern U.S. Corn Belt and investigates the total contribution of these storms to the monthly climatological rainfall in the Midwestern United States. The primary focus is on rainfall impacts from landfalling tropical systems on historic corn yields at the climate division and crop reporting district level. Climatologically dry to drought conditions for historic monthly observed rainfall are identified using the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) and the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). It was found that without landfalling tropical system rainfall, the percentage increase in climatologically dry (or drier) conditions across the domain at state climate division resolution increased from 16% up to over 200%. The study also considers the effects of climatologically wet conditions on crop yields. 

Landfalling tropical system rainfall accounts for approximately 20% of the observed monthly rainfall during the tropical storm season (June-November) across the eastern U.S. Corn Belt (1981-2012). Correlation between the annual number of landfalling tropical systems and annual yield by state results in no relationship, but correlation of August monthly observed rainfall by climate division to crop reporting district annual yields has a weak to moderate, statistically significant correlation in Ohio districts 30-60 and Indiana CRD 90. 
ANOVA analysis suggests that landfalling tropical rainfall may actually reduce yields in some state's climate divisions/crop reporting districts while increasing yield in others. Results suggest that there is a balance between landfalling tropical storms providing sufficient rainfall or too much rainfall to be of benefit to crops. Findings aim to provide information to producers, crop advisers, risk managers and commodity groups so that seasonal hurricane forecasts can potentially be utilized in planning for above or below normal precipitation during phenologically important portions of the growing season. (Access Full Article)

New article in Climatic Change 

Carlton, J.S., Mase, A.S., Knutson, C.L., Lemos, M.C., Haigh, T., Todey, D.P., and L.S. Prokopy. 2016. "The effects of extreme drought on climate change beliefs, risk perceptions, and adaptation attitudes." Climatic Change, 135:211-226. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-015-1561-5 

The role of extreme weather events in shaping people's climate change beliefs and adaptation attitudes has been extensively studied and discussed in academic literature, the popular press, and policy circles. In this manuscript, we contribute to the debate by using data from pre- and post-extreme event surveys to examine the effects of the 2012 Midwestern US drought on agricultural advisors' climate change beliefs, adaptation attitudes, and risk perceptions. We found that neither climate change beliefs nor attitudes toward adaptation changed significantly as a result of the drought. Risk perceptions did change, however, with advisors becoming more concerned about risks from drought and pests and less concerned about risks related to flooding and ponding. Though increased risk perceptions were significantly associated with more favorable adaptation attitudes, the effects were not large enough to cause an overall shift to more favorable attitudes toward adaptation. The results suggest that extreme climate events might not cause significant shifts in climate beliefs, at least not immediately. Additionally, the results caution that policy designs that rely on increasing risk perceptions to motivate action on climate change may be overestimating the effects of extreme events on feeling at risk, at least in the context of buffered systems such as large commercial agriculture in the US. (Access Full Article)

Read our featured c ommentary in Journal of Extension 

Prokopy, L.S.  and  R. Power. 2015. "Envisioning New Roles for Land-Grant University Extension: Lessons Learned from Climate Change Outreach in the Midwest." Journal of Extension, 53(6): Commentary #6COM1. 

Recent surveys with farmers, Extension personnel, and agricultural advisors reveal interesting findings about climate change beliefs and who people trust for climate related information. Based on these results this article discusses a new direction for land-grant university Extension and research in addressing issues related to climate change and agriculture.  Access Article 

Listen to Podcast (From Working Differently in Extension)

Recent publication in Science Communication 

Wilke, A.K, and L.W. Morton. 2015. "Climatologists' Communication of Climate Science to the Agricultural Sector." Science Communication 37(3): 371-395. 


Farming is a risky business. Climate science information can assist agriculture in formulating management decisions that hedge against uncertainty and risks. Climatologists are key actors in communicating historical trends and forecast information. Interviews and surveys of climatologists in the North Central Region reveal that they are providing accurate and objective information but are likely to let the science speak for itself. This suggests missed opportunities to communicate climate science in ways that make science relevant to decision maker beliefs, values, and practical applications. Furthermore, more active engagement with agriculture could increase co-learning necessary for effective adaptive management under increasingly variable climate conditions. (Access Full Article)

Researcher Spotlight research
Did you know that two NOAA Regional Climate Centers are key partners on the U2U project? The High Plains and Midwestern Regional Climate Centers (HPRCC and MRCC) provide access to raw and value-added climate data, and they provide guidance on integrating climate data into our crop models and decision support tools. In fact, when the U2U project officially ends in 2017 the HPRCC and MRCC will inherit all of the U2U decision support tools to ensure continued access to these fantastic resources.


U2U Team 2015


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.