Climate Analogs Academy Details

Illustration of two people shaking hands across the country

How will climate change affect specialty crops?

How will you help producers adapt their cropping systems?

Would you like to get paid to visit specialty crop experts around the country?

We want you to be part of the first cohort. Bring your ideas for climate change adaptation in specialty crops.

In our program, we will connect you with the right people around the country and provide the tools, training, and space for you to start answering these questions.

Academy Overview

The Climate Analogs Academy aims to empower US Extension professionals to lead regional climate change adaptation in specialty crops. Our strategy to overcome some common pitfalls of climate change education is to focus on building dialogue around technical information and building strategic relationships. We will use the Climate Analogs Tool to pair you with an Academy participant working with some of the same crops but in a county with your future climate conditions. This is your climate analog. A small cohort of 10 extension professionals will engage in peer-to-peer dialog, a workshop series, and develop projects with regional USDA Climate Hubs. You will also host and get to visit your climate analog partner and attend a national conference with travel costs covered. We are recruiting now for the 2024 Academy starting in January.

For more information on the Climate Analogs Tool: Climate analogs can catalyze cross-regional dialogs for US specialty crop adaptation (Article)

  • Develop working knowledge of climate change impacts on specialty crop production systems with other specialty crop extension experts from around the US.
  • Build familiarity and competency in using climate data tools for climate adaptation planning.
  • Build professional relationships with Academy cohort members and your region’s Climate Hub staff.
  • Develop a working knowledge and practice on dialog-based communication theory and strategies for communicating about climate change.
  • Training and networking to become a specialty crops liaison for your USDA Climate Hub
  • $4,500 stipend to compensate time investment in Academy events
  • All travel costs are covered for in-person events.

  • Host and visit analogs site for 2-day tour each. All expenses paid.
  • Participate in 8 or more 2-hour workshops.
  • Engage in extensive dialog with the representative from your analog site, and other experts from around the US.
  • Develop an outreach project in collaboration with your regional Climate Hub.
  • Attend a national meeting (TBD) for graduation ceremony, present independent project, spend time with your cohort and program facilitators.

A summary of the program shows time on the x axis and program engagement on the y axis with green bars showing engagement in workshops, site visits, project development, and conference travel.

Virtual Workshops

Participate in 8 or more virtual workshops. These two-hour workshops will begin in January 2024. Each workshop will be an opportunity to dig into a climate adaptation topic with a technical expert and facilitator/s to explore the topic using a number of dialog strategies. Workshop topics include:

  • Intro to Climate and Agriculture
  • Climate and Specialty Crops Supply Chains
  • The Analog Concept
  • Climate Hubs 101
  • Climate Hubs 201
  • AgroClimate Tools for Fruit and Vegetables Production
  • Climate & Weather Data Analytics for Decision Making in Fruit & Vegetables Production Systems using
  • Climate Science Policy
  • Communication – Agricultural Stakeholders

Virtual workshop format: The hosting organizations (listed below) will trade off leading workshops. All workshops will employ interactive discussion techniques in addition to presenting information on accessibility-compliant slides.

Study Tours

You will get to visit your climate analog partner to gain insight into local cropping systems and discuss challenges and opportunities with them. At a separate time, you will host your partner where you work. A member of the project team will also join to learn and contribute to the dialog. A typical study tour is 2 nights and 2-3 tour days. You will be supported in designing your analog-based dialogue experience and feeding insights gained back into the program.

Climate Hubs Project

You will get to work with the Climate Hub Staff in your region to produce an outreach project. These projects may include, but are not limited to, podcasts, videos, blog posts, extension publications, or workshops and trainings. This is an opportunity to connect with your Climate Hub to consider future collaborations as well as an opportunity to apply elements of the Academy.

  • A commitment to building and adapting dialog within and across workshops and other events based on what we are learning from you and what is working well and not working well
  • Making visual and audio content accessible to everyone as well as making physical accommodations to participants who need them
  • A commitment to learn and practice dialog skills along with participants including:
    • Active listening for understanding
    • Being open and communicating openness to new ideas and information
    • Reducing social distance through empathy, radical honesty, and storytelling
    • Explicit acknowledgement of individual differences
  • Some degree of flexibility in requirements, including an option to complete workshops missed with the 2nd cohort in 2025
  • We will use your input to create a practical way to communicate after the program so you feel supported in taking some risks towards climate adaptation and can share your successes and challenges.

  • At least 1 Extension/Hub staff person to represent each of the 6 participating Hub regions
  • Candidates must currently work in specialty crop in the US
  • We are actively seeking participants broadly representative of the diverse communities, producer groups, and specialty crop production systems from around the US.
  • Applicants must be able to commit to the time required
  • Applicants should demonstrate a desire to lead climate change adaptation at local/regional level
  • 10 people will be selected for the 2024 cohort, partly based on quality of analog site pairs that exist among applicants.

What if I can’t attend a workshop or miss too many to make up for the minimum 8 required?

  • There will be an option to watch a recording and conduct follow-up discussion with a project team member for some workshops
  • If the make-up option is does not seem appropriate for a particular workshop or is available but not completed but the participant, a participant may join that workshop with the spring 2025 cohort
  • If a participant is not on track to complete workshops, we will work with the participant to prioritize dialogue and travel to maintain a beneficial analog partner experience and may withhold conference travel expenses and pro-rate stipend allowances

How should I make time for this program in my schedule?

  • We are happy to provide talking points for discussing this opportunity with your supervisor
  • Our project coordinator will help you schedule travel in January 2024
  • If you do not have time in your spring 2024 schedule, please consider applying for our 2nd and final cohort that will be advertised in Oct 2024 for delivery in Spring 2025

What if I am a strong candidate, but nobody from my analog region applies to the program?

  • For strong candidates who apply early in the first half of the application period, we will identify appropriate analog regions and conduct targeted recruitment of personnel in that region because we believe that good matches are important to the success of the program and the long-term benefit of relationships built in the program
  • If you know of a potential partner from an analog area, we encourage co-application to the program.

Can I talk to a real person about the program?

  • Our project manager can schedule a time to talk with you if you aren’t sure whether or not to apply given your circumstances and answer questions about the program.

If my location represents the future climate analog for someone else’s location, they clearly benefit. But what do I gain?

  • Member of the project team and participants in an analog-dialogs pilot workshop in 2022 agree that being forced to reflect on why you do things a certain way and how you are approaching problems is a very useful process regardless of whether you get to have this conversation with someone living in your future climate or not. We also welcome your input and aim to adapt content and format quickly to ensure both partners benefit as much as possible.

Academy participants will be invited to participate in voluntary study to assess dialog-based learning effectiveness and offer feedback on curriculum. This will include a questionnaire at the start of the program and an interview at the end of the program.

The Academy is a USDA NIFA-funded CAP (2017-68002-26789) project led by Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR)

Project Team