How Climate Change Affects Agriculture

From our guest’s website:
Hi, I’m Don Wilhite, professor of Applied Climate Science in the School of Natural Resources. I am the founding director of the National Drought Mitigation Center, a position I held from 1995 until 2007 when I was appointed director of the School of Natural Resources. On August 1, 2012, I stepped down from the SNR’s director’s role to rejoin the faculty. I have been a faculty member at UNL since 1977. My principal areas of interest include drought preparedness, mitigation and policy, climate and drought monitoring, climate impact assessment, and the development of climate-based decision support tools.
Throughout my career, I have worked with many federal and state agencies on climate and drought-related issues. I have also worked in many foreign countries and with numerous international organizations, including several agencies of the United Nations. Most of this work has been associated with the development and implementation of integrated drought monitoring programs and risk-based drought preparedness strategies and policies.
I recently served as chair of the International Organizing Committee for the High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy. This meeting was held in Geneva, Switzerland, in March 2013. This international conference was sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization, the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification, and the U. N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Several follow-on activities related to this meeting are now being held, including a series of regional workshops on capacity building in support of the development of national drought management policies. The first of these workshops was held in July 2013 in Bucharest, Romania, for Eastern European countries. Subsequent workshops have been held in Hanoi, Vietnam, for the Asian region and Fortaleza, Brazil, for Latin America and the Caribbean. Another workshop will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for eastern and southern African countries in August 2014. Additional workshops are planned for West Africa and the North African/Near East regions. My role at these workshops is to give the keynote presentation and facilitate discussion.
I am also chairing the Management and Advisory Committees of the newly formed Integrated Drought Management Program (IDMP) launched by the World Meteorological Organization and the Global Water Partnership. I recently authored a handbook on Guidelines for National Drought Management Policy: A Template for Action. This handbook is a product of the IDMP. I am also a member of the steering committee for several European drought-related projects.
On campus, I recently co-chaired the organizing committee for the annual symposium of the Center for Great Plains Studies, Drought in the Life, Cultures, and Landscapes of the Great Plains. This very successful symposium was held on campus in April 2014. I am also working with a team of university scientists to produce a report on the implications of climate change in Nebraska. This report will be published in September 2014. The team will also be presenting the results of this report at the first Heuermann Lecture in late September. The report will form the basis for the development of strategic programming decisions for various divisions of the university and will also be used to build awareness about climate change around the state for diverse audiences. I am also working with other faculty colleagues to publish an Atlas of Nebraska in late 2015 or early 2016.
In 2005, I edited Drought and Water Crises: Science, Technology and Management Issues, published by CRC Press. I am now editing a book series by the same name that focuses on the complex interrelationships between drought, climate change, and water management.
Plus on This Week in Water:
Two New Contaminants Found in Fracking Wastewater
Cow Manure Is “An Imminent and Substantial Threat to Drinking Water”
Des Moines Utility to Sue Counties for Farm Runoff
Citing BP Gulf Oil Spill, EPA Wants Stricter Standards on Oil Dispersants
The “Underworlds” Project at MIT Aims to Develop “Smart Sewage” 
Is There Gold in Your Sewer? Probably. 
This Week’s Calendar:

City Energy Project January Workshop

Date: January 21, 2015

Time: 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm


Hosted by USGBC Central Plains and the Kansas City Energy Project, Speed Energy Efficiency Roundtable Discussions is a happy hour and networking event. Attendees will have four opportunities to rotate to different discussions, each round lasting 15 minutes. Find the table topics and speakers here.

This free event will be held Wed., Jan. 21 from 4 – 6 p.m., at The Board Room at Union Station, 30 West Pershing Rd., Kansas City, MO. For more information visit USGBC Central


Kansas Water Law

Date: January 22, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm


Sierra Club Wakarusa Group January Meeting will discuss Kansas water law. The meeting will cover the history and development of Kansas water law, how water resources are currently allocated, and how one obtains water rights. Everyone is welcome.

This event will be held Thurs., Jan. 22 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., at 2736 Rawhide Ln., Lawrence, KS. Please RSVP to [email protected] or 479-899-7900.


Sustainability Action: Annual Member Party & Meeting

Date: January 23, 2015

Time: 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm


Sustainability Action in Lawrence, KS will celebrate its seventh birthday with a potluck dinner and a presentation by Kris Adair. After the potluck, members will recap 2014 achievements in bicycle transportation, community gardens, food sovereignty and more. Directors will also be elected for the coming year.

The main event will be a keynote talk by Kris Adair, urban sustainability advocate and member of the Lawrence School Board. She has interests in the Safe Routes To Schools program, curtailing urban sprawl, walkable neighborhoods, and non-motorized transportation. Following Ms. Adair’s talk, small group will share ideas for 2015 activities. Since forming in late 2007, Sustainability Action has been bringing to the Lawrence community local solutions for transition to a sustainable economy. Everyone is welcome, non-members and members alike.

This event will be held Sat., Jan. 24 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., at the Lawrence Public Library Auditorium, 707 Vermont St., Lawrence, KS.

Share This Episode