Climate and Agriculture Conversations with Extension at Historically Black Land-Grants in the Midwest

The Climate Ready Midwest team has been busy connecting with Extension colleagues at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the Midwest. Team members traveled to Ohio and Missouri to host workshops with our agricultural educator and specialist counterparts, and their close partners, at both Central State University (CSU) and Lincoln University (LU), the two HBCUs and 1890 land-grant institutions in the Midwest (the institutions established through the Morrill Act of 1890, as defined by the Association for Public & Land Grant Universities).

An invitation to the climate conversation hangs on a bulletin board at Lincoln University.
Participants and project team members line up to eat lunch together after the workshop.

The team designed the workshops to explore how Extension professionals at 1890 institutions think about climate change in their agricultural programming. The workshops built on similar conversations conducted with colleagues at the 1862 land-grant institutions in the Midwest (the institutions established through the Morrill Act of 1862) and explored opportunities for collaboration between institution types. 

The project team started by briefly introducing Climate Ready Midwest, explaining how the information would be utilized and how value would be provided back to participants. We then divided participants into three groups for round table discussions around the three questions:

  • In what ways does Extension’s programming already intersect with climate change?
  • What should be Extension’s role in communicating about and supporting programming related to climate change?
  • What are the programmatic needs of your audiences in regards to climate change?

Participants in the workshops moved together to each table to weigh in on all three of these questions via facilitated discussion. Through the process, our team gathered a diversity of perspectives on each topic; this has provided valuable insights into how our counterparts at 1890 institutions think about climate change. While analysis is ongoing, the experience illustrated to the project team that our colleagues at CSU and LU Extension are incredibly proud of the work they are doing so far, and are hopeful for the successes to come!

An invitation to the workshop hangs on a bulletin board at Lincoln University.

The next steps for the project team include analyzing data from the workshops and developing a Theory of Change, an illustration of how and why a desired change is expected to happen in a particular context. We expect this Theory of Change to describe both the work happening at CSU and LU Extension specifically, as well as the agricultural climate programming across all land-grants in the Midwest, and how those efforts will positively impact the diverse range of communities we serve.

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If you are interested in learning more or collaborating on any of this work, please reach out to Alli Parrish, project manager, at or Aaron Wilson, project director, at

To those who participated in the workshops, we extend a huge thank you! The perspectives you shared were deeply appreciated by the project team and invaluable to understanding climate in ag programming across the region. The team loved having the opportunity to meet you all and share conversation and we look forward to future collaborations!