It's a quickly emerging common concern among farmers throughout the world.
After more than a century, Mennonites living in Mexico and dealing with severe drought in the northern region where they farm are considering moving back to the Russia steppes, the land from which they emigrated more than a century ago.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, growing numbers of drought-stressed wheat farmers are considering adopting dryland farming methods with all the risks this type of farming entails.
The common theme among these farmers, despite the vast distance that separates them is climate, namely the way climate variability and extreme climate/weather events must be factored into farming decisions, whether these be long-term or short-term decisions.
"Farmers have always appreciated the impact of climate and weather on crops in the past. That's nothing new," says Brenda Ortiz, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System specialist and Auburn University assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy and Soils.
"What is new is an appreciation for how climate forecasting tools can be used throughout critical times of the year to make more informed farming decisions."
If the severe 2012 drought drove home one hard fact to farmers in the Southeast it's that even in the region, adequate moisture is something that can't be taken for granted.
To help producers gain a deeper insight into the value and use of these tools and related technologies and practices, the Southeast Climate Consortium will hold a Climate Adaptation Exchange Feb. 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Georgia's Tifton Campus Conference Center, at 15 RDC Road in Tifton.
Ortiz describes the event as a cooperative undertaking among farmers, land-grant researchers and Extension professionals to showcase strategies and technologies to cope with climate variability and other weather-related issues.
The exchange will cover drought management and reducing farm risks and costs.
Presenters will also discuss barriers to and solutions for adopting new strategies and crop insurance issues.
Participants will also receive an update on the latest climate outlook.
Irrigation technology, which includes sensor-based irrigation management, variable-rate irrigation and subsurface drip irrigation, will be another major topic of the discussion.
Other topics that will be explored include primed acclimation, sod-based rotation, the value of conservation-tillage and high-residue cover crops, and energy-efficient farming alternatives.
Registration, which is free, is available online: http://www.agroclimate.org/seclimate/events/.
Also, visit the http://www.agroclimate.org website for more climate-related information.