The Southeast Climate Extension project, a large-scale partnership of six universities across the Southeast, was recently awarded the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Partnership Award for Multistate Efforts. Brenda Ortiz, an associate professor in Auburn University’s Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences and specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, is part of the team whose efforts aim to help Southeastern farmers cope with the results of climate change.

Since May 2011, university member institutions have been working to develop an information system, decision-making tools and management strategies to minimize the risks posed to Southeastern agriculture by extreme weather events, climate change and climate variability. Ortiz’s specific involvement has focused on building the capacity of stakeholders to cope with the impacts of climate variability and change on agriculture. Specifically, Ortiz has planned and hosted climate science-related trainings, co-developed climate-based decision support tools with farmers and Extension agents and developed Extension fact sheets and videos.

“Brenda’s role in this project has been critical and a key to its success,” said John Beasley, professor and head of Auburn’s crop, soil and environmental sciences department. “She and the entire team exemplify the work our land-grant universities and Extension do daily to apply research in support of those who produce our food and fiber.”

The SCE project team is made up of individuals from Auburn University, Clemson University, Florida A&M University, Florida State University, the University of Florida and the University of Georgia. The team is led by Clyde Fraisse of the University of Florida. Ortiz, a member of the Auburn faculty since 2009, is a graduate of the University of Georgia and the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and Universidad del Valle, Colombia.

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