Farmer with computer

As the climate changes, increasingly unpredictable weather can make it hard for farmers to know when to plant and harvest crops.

Hoffmann: “We need to update or even create new decision tools for farmers.”

That’s Michael Hoffmann of the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions. To help farmers in the Northeast adapt to changing conditions, the institute created a suite of online tools.

Hoffmann: “These are all site specific, so the user goes to the website, clicks on where their farm’s located, the soil type, the crop, and then it will give you a prediction.”

For example, one tool helps apple growers estimate the risk of freeze damage for particular species. Another helps farmers estimate how quickly a crop will grow based on the warmth expected during that growing season.

Hoffmann: “Instead of using a 30-year average, it actually uses kind of a 15-year running average to update everything so it’s more current, it’s more appropriate for today.”

And you don’t have to be a farmer to make use of the tools. One allows you to look up any county – from West Virginia to Maine – to see how temperature and precipitation are changing.

And that can help farmers – and communities – prepare for a warmer future.

Reporting credit: Ariel Hansen/ChavoBart Digital Media.