EAST LANSING - How might a changing climate impact agricultural productivity in the Great Lakes region? How might it affect a farmer´s choice of crops or economic risk? What impacts could the development of wind power have on agricultural land owners?

These and other questions will be explored at a free one-day workshop, Michigan State University, Kellogg Center on March 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Climate Change and Agriculture in the Great Lakes Region: The Potential Impacts and What We Can Do, is presented by the Michigan State University, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and the Great Lakes Regional Assessment Team. The event will allow scientists from the entire Great Lakes region to share research and discuss topics affecting agriculture, with emphasis on climate change and agricultural economics.

The workshop is one of five regional workshops planned by the Great Lakes Regional Assessment, Michigan State University and U.S. EPA to inform concerned citizens in the Great Lakes region about the potential impacts of global climate change and engage people in addressing these issues. The first, "Great Lakes Water Levels," was held in Chicago in March 2001. The second, "Great Lakes Aquatic Ecology," was held in Milwaukee in June, 2001.

Climate change could affect the Great Lakes region in many ways that would have implications for the economy and quality of life. Some of the changes anticipated may be beneficial for agricultural productivity. Improvements in technology, the CO2 fertilization effect, and the use of adaptive farm management strategies could help mitigate negative effects of climate change. Adaptive farm management strategies include: changes in crop selection or development of new crop varieties that are more adaptable to interannual variations of weather; changes in the timing of planting and harvesting; and the development of wind power.

The most current research findings from the Great Lakes Regional Assessment will be shared at the workshop, which will provide a forum for farmers, fruit and vegetable producers, risk managers, wind energy developers, and representatives from leading agricultural corporations to explore the role climate plays in their respective industries. Panel discussions will follow presentations providing an opportunity for workshop participants to convey their information needs.

Featured speakers include: Jeff Andresen, State Climatologist, MSU * Peter Sousounis, Meterologist * Roy Black, Agriculture Economics, MSU * Murt McLeod, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., * Andy Bootsma, Eastern Cereal and Oil Seed Research Center * Mike Grover, Cargill * Steve Smiley, Bay Energy Services * Doug Doug Welsch, Fenn Valley Vineyards *Jim Nugent, Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Station

For additional information or to register for this workshop, log on to the Web site: or call Jeanne Bisanz at MSU, (248) 851-2316.