Resource Spotlight: Adaptation Workbook

The USDA and the US Forest Service Department of Agriculture recently launched a digital Adaptation Workbook for Forestry and Agriculture. “The Adaptation Workbook is a structured process to consider the potential effects of climate change on forest ecosystems and design land management and conservation actions that can help prepare for changing conditions.” 

The workbook has a lot of flexibility to accommodate a wide variety of enterprises and relies on farmers gaining an understanding of their own geologic and climatic conditions, as well as having a strong grasp of their farm’s objectives and management goals. The Workbook was created because “more and more information is becoming available on climate change projections and potential impacts on natural resources and agriculture. Unfortunately, most of this information doesn't seem applicable because many land owners and managers are unsure how climate change might actually apply at the scales that are relevant to their work. The Adaptation Workbook was created to bridge this gap.”

The Workbook consists of 5 basic steps:

  1. Define goals and objectives
  2. Assess climate impacts and vulnerabilities
  3. Evaluate objectives considering climate impacts
  4. Identify adaptation approaches and tactics for implementation
  5. Monitor effectiveness of implemented actions

While the main focus of the workbook is to help create a structure for climate adaptation, there are also elements of mitigation within the process. Though complete mitigation of climate change is likely impossible, there are many adaptation projects that go hand in hand with mitigation strategies, and vice versa. 

The Workbook can be used for Agriculture and Forestry. PDF versions of the workbook are also available at the links below. To use the online version, visit

Adaptation Resources for Agriculture

Forest Adaptation Resources: climate change tools and approaches for land managers, 2nd edition.



Orleans Co. Environmental Book Club to discuss Dust Bowl and local Soil Health

Arguably the worst human-caused disaster in American history, the Dust Bowl spanned through the darkest days of the American Depression, costing many farmers and homesteaders their homes, their health, all their money, and often their own lives and those of their family members. 

Understanding the damage that can be done by poor soil management should be an integral part of every farmers self education, making The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan essential reading for anyone interested in how we as farmers and land stewards can work with nature to mitigate our negative impacts and reduce the likelihood of erosion. Whether it be erosion in the form of a massive dust cloud, or a fast moving stream dumping our topsoil and nutrients into a nearby lake, the capacity for that erosion to harm both our farm health and the health of nearby land, water and people is something we are responsible for controlling through better stewardship. 

Throughout 2017, Orleans County SWCD will be hosting an Environmental Book Club at Albion Hoag Library. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan is our book club selection for February 2017 and we encourage all local farmers and concerned citizens to join our group in discussion on February 7th at 7pm in “The Loft”. Discussion will include both commentary on the book, as well as a proactive discussion on how our community can help mitigate erosion and improve our soils. 

A flyer with further information can be downloaded here.

On Farm Trial: Stein Farms Triticale Cover

Stein Farms is a multi-generational, family-run dairy farm is Le Roy, NY where the Stein family works alongside their employees tending to their dairy herd, cultivating about 2,700 acres of feed, and striving to take care of the beautiful landscape that surrounds them.