Farmer Perspectives on Agricultural Practices, Information, and Weather Variability in the Corn Belt: A Statistical Atlas, Volume 2

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By Sarah Church1, Tonya Haigh2, Melissa J. Widhalm1, Linda S. Prokopy1, J. Arbuckle3, Jon Hobbs3, Tricia Knoot3, Cody Knutson2, Adam Loy3, Amber Mase4, Jean Mcguire3, Lois Morton3, John Tyndall3

1. Purdue University 2. University of Nebraska-Lincoln 3. Iowa State University 4. University of Wisconsin-Madison

This atlas is the second in a series presenting data from a survey of Corn Belt farmers conducted in 2012 by the Useful to Usable ( and Climate and Corn-based Cropping Systems CAP ( projects.

Version 1.0 - published on 04 Aug 2015 doi:10.4231/R79W0CFS - cite this Archived on 25 Oct 2016

Licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal


This atlas is the second in a series presenting data from a survey of Corn Belt farmers that was conducted in February and March 2012 by teams comprised from the U2U ( and Climate and Corn-based Cropping Systems CAP ( projects. In 2011, the USDA funded the Climate and Corn-based Cropping Systems CAP (CSCAP) and Useful to Usable (U2U): Transforming Climate Variability and Change Information for Cereal Crop Producers projects. CSCAP seeks to increase resilience and adaptability of Midwest agriculture to more volatile weather patterns by identifying famer practices and policies that increase sustainability while meeting crop demand. U2U seeks to increase resilience and adaptability of Midwestern agriculture by improving the usability and uptake of climate information.

The U2U-CSCAP survey was sent to a stratified random sample of 18,707 farmers with at least US$100,000 of gross sales and a minimum of 80 acres of corn production in 22 six-digit Hydrologic Code Unit (HUC) watersheds (see Appendix A of the Farmer Perspectives on Agriculture and Weather Variability in the Corn Belt Appendix Statistical Atlas for a comprehensive account of survey methods). The 22 watersheds cover a substantial portion of 11 Corn Belt states—Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin—all of which are classified as “major crop areas” for corn and soybean (USDA 1994). Completed surveys were received from 4,778 farmers for an effective response rate of 26%.

Continuing the format of this atlas series, this document provides additional findings of the U2U-CSCAP survey results by watershed. Each section contains a tabulated presentation of survey data and a series of maps that visually represent the distribution of responses across the entire study region.

The first atlas in this series presented data on farmer attitudes toward adaptive and mitigative action, farmer beliefs about climate change, farmers’ perceptions of risks and experienced hazards, influences of agricultural actors, the capacity of farmers to deal with climate change and weather-related threats, characteristics of the farms surveyed, and general information regarding weather and marginal soils in the study watersheds. This second atlas provides additional results from the 2012 survey. Here, we focus upon farmers’ specific behaviors, beliefs about climate and weather, and the tools they utilize to make farm decisions. In the following pages you will find information covering timing of farming practices and farming decisions, whether and how farmers use weather information when making farming decisions, a detailed look at the influence of agricultural advisors in farmer decision making processes, farmers’ personal experiences regarding weather and risks, additional information on farmers’ attitudes and beliefs regarding climate change, and plans and efforts of farmers to adapt to and manage for weather and climate variability and risk.

As with the first atlas in this series, it is our hope that the maps in this document will be useful to Extension educators and other stakeholders that work with the agricultural community. To lift a map for use in a PowerPoint presentation or other document, simply use the “Take a Snapshot” tool in the Edit Menu of Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat to capture the image, then paste it into your presentation or other document. If you require higher resolution images than your default settings provide, go to the Edit Menu, then Preferences, then General. Click the box for “Use fixed resolution for Snapshot tool images” and increase the pixels/inch until the quality is sufficient (150 is a good place to start). Please cite this report as the source.

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