12 May 2022
12 May 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Assessing stakeholder climate data needs for farm-level decision-making in the U.S. Corn Belt

Suzanna Clark1, J. Felix Wolfinger2, Melissa A. Kenney2, Michael D. Gerst3, and Heidi A. Roop1 Suzanna Clark et al.
  • 1Department of Soil, Water, & Climate, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, 55108, U.S.A.
  • 2Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, 55108, U.S.A.
  • 3Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 20742, U.S.A.

Abstract. Across the Midwest region of the United States, agriculturalists make decisions on a variety of time scales, ranging from daily to weekly, monthly, and seasonally. Ever improving forecasts and decision support tools could assist the decision-making process, particularly in the context of a changing and increasingly variable climate. To be usable, however, the information produced by these forecasts and tools should be salient, credible, legitimate, and iterative, qualities which are achieved through deliberate co-production with stakeholders. This study uses a document analysis approach to explore stakeholder climate information needs and priorities in the U.S. Corn Belt. Through the analysis of 50 documents, we find that stakeholders are primarily concerned with practical and tactical decision making, including from whom they get their information, the application of information to agricultural, water, and risk management, and desired economic outcomes. The information that stakeholders desire is less focused on social issues, environmental issues, or long-term climate resilience. This study can inform the development of future decision support tools, identify known gaps in climate information services to reduce stakeholder fatigue, and serve as an example to scientists trying to understand stakeholder needs in other regions and specialties.

Suzanna Clark et al.

Status: open (until 07 Jul 2022)

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Suzanna Clark et al.


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Short summary
Fifty documents with input from farmers, rangeland managers, and water resource managers were analyzed to understand climate information needs in the U.S. Corn Belt. Practitioners want information to help them make agricultural, water, and risk management decisions to improve economic outcomes. These results can inform decision support tool development, summarize background information for future research in the Corn Belt, and provide an example for research in other sectors and geographies.