At the direction of the Maryland State legislature, the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology (Hughes Center), Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), and Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) are working together to create a process and strategy to develop a Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Maryland Agriculture. Input from Maryland farmers and representatives of agriculture entities is needed to inform this statewide effort.
The Chesapeake Bay region is the third-most vulnerable area in the U.S. to sea-level rise. Maryland is experiencing warmer nighttime temperatures, changes in precipitation, the emergence of invasive species and pests, and other climate-induced adverse conditions. These have the potential to significantly affect agriculture, its economic state, and the communities that rely on the sector.
The last climate vulnerability assessment performed for Maryland was completed in 2010 and focused on the state as a whole rather than specifically on agriculture. However, climate science has advanced to the point where it is now possible to develop mitigation strategies for farmers experiencing impacts to their productions caused by climate changes.
The current phase of this assessment includes outlining the process to develop a Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Maryland Agriculture. The vulnerability assessment will inform the subsequent development of adaptation strategies for Maryland agriculture in the face of climate-induced impacts and increase agriculture’s resilience to extreme weather events. This state-level assessment can enable a more focused examination of Maryland agriculture’s unique assets and the challenges the state’s farmers and foresters face in a changing climate.
Input from producers, who are on the front line of changing conditions, is needed to ensure that the vulnerability assessment is properly designed. Producers and agricultural stakeholders can provide input via a survey at https://go.umd.edu/cvama.