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Columbia Missourian

MU Center for Agroforestry to host weather disaster symposium

By Ayano Shimizu
January 2, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The MU Center for Agroforestry will focus on understanding and adapting to extreme weather events during its Fourth Annual Agroforestry Symposium.

The symposium, "Floods and Droughts: Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources in a Changing Climate," will take place Jan. 9 in MU's Jesse Wrench Auditorium. The event will focus on the impact of recent weather events on the supply of the region's food, fiber, biomass and biofuels, a release from the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources said.

"We decided to focus on climate because of the recent experiences with the drought. ... It recently happened, and we are still trying to recover from the historic drought," said Shibu Jose, director of the Center for Agroforestry.

There will be 10 talks by MU professors and other experts who specialize in research on topics including climate, agroforestry, environmental science and agricultural economics.

The keynote speaker will be Christopher Anderson, assistant director of the Climate Science Program at Iowa State University and a climate change researcher. Anderson will discuss extreme weather events and their implications for the Midwestern farmscape. Anderson is scheduled to speak at 9 a.m.

The symposium not only will allow the audience to learn about extreme climate and how to prepare for it, but it also will provide information on how to adapt land uses to extreme climate. Participants also will discuss the science behind predicting extreme weather events and ongoing research designed to help landowners prepare and adapt to extreme weather.

Jose said the symposium should be valuable for many people because extreme weather can have huge ramifications for anyone involved in agriculture. The symposium specifically targets professionals in natural resource management and agriculture industry. Professionals from natural resource and agricultural agencies and people who sell agricultural products such as seeds, fertilizer and agrochemicals also can benefit from the event. 

"The symposium can provide land management solutions that can sustain production and conservation values of the land," he said, adding that students might also learn a lot by attending.

The annual agroforestry symposiums attract around 150 people each year, Jose said. He expects similar attendance this year. Jose said he hopes a similar number will watch the symposium as it is live-streamed on the Internet.

The event is open and free to the public. Those who want to attend are encouraged to contact Tricia Oswald at or at 884-2874 by Jan. 8.

"Whether you believe in climate change or not, the question is how do you deal with these extreme weather events," Jose said.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.