Climate Resiliency Research and Best Practices

Best practices and research on adaptation to climate change is constantly evolving and there are numerous resources online and held in the experiences of farmers who are adapting every day. Cornell’s Climate-smart Farming program identified the following six areas as key strategies for adapting farms to increasing temperatures, increasing precipitation variability and extremes and other impacts, found here. CISA has curated several resources in each area however we recommend that farmers conduct their own research as well.

Soil Health and Management

Enhancing soil health through adaptive management practices is a key component of farm and food system resilience. The resources shared here can guide you to specific practices as well as put you in contact with organizations and programs focused on soil health and climate.

American Farmland Trust Soil Health Case Studies

Cornell Soil Health Assessment

SARE Publication: Building Soils for Better Crops

Efficient Use and Management of Water Resources

In Massachusetts, climate change is marked not only by higher temperatures but also by unpredictable swings between too much and too little precipitation. The resources listed here will help farmers learn about the efficient use and management of water resources as well as how to respond to flooding and other impacts of increased rainfall.

SARE Publication: Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranch

Cornell Water Deficit Calculator Tutorial

NRCS Water Conservation & Management

Diversification of Farm Enterprises, Species, Crop Varieties and Seeds

Farm diversification runs from new enterprises such as agritourism or a farm stand to value-added products or new varieties of crops adapted to a changing climate.The resources listed here can help farms consider different options for diversifying their farms and increasing their resiliency in the face of rapid changes.

USDA: List of Alternative Crops and Enterprises for Small Farm Diversification

SARE Publication: Diversifying Cropping Systems

NRCS: Agricultural Management Assistance Program

Cornell Small Farms- Farm Diversification and Enterprise Analysis

Livestock Management in a Changing Climate

As the climate changes, livestock management must change as well. From chickens to cattle, there are many adaptive practices for your livestock operation and the resources listed below provide a look at just a few.

FACT: Pasture-Based Livestock – Advancing Ecological, Economic, and Emotional Resilience

USDA: Animal Agriculture in a Changing Climate

USDA: Livestock Heat Stress Webinar Series

Whole Farm Planning and Adaptive Management

Climate change impacts all part of society and each aspect of your farm’s operation. The planning and management tools listed here can help you approach climate change adaptation from a comprehensive perspective and planning process.

Northeast SARE Mailing List Sign-up Form – Highly Recommended!

SARE Publication: Cultivating Resiliency on Farms and Ranches

Holistic Management International

Real World Resilience: Stories of Land, People, and Community

Reduced-Till Equipment Rentals

Esch 5605 No-Till Seed Drill – Hampden Hampshire Conservation District

To make a rental reservation, please contact Matthew Karas: (413) 362-4720, or

Rental fee: $50/day (not including transport days) plus $5/acre

Available for Spring planting, pasture rejuvenation, mid-season interseeding and Fall cover-cropping or double cropping. The 5605 has 12 openers, with a planting width of 5’6″ and 5.5″ row spacing. The transport width is 8′ and weight is 3,900 lbs. Requires 40+HP Tractor. 

Esch 5512 No-Till Seeder Drill – Berkshire Conservation District

To make a rental reservation, contact the No-Till Coordinator

Rental fee: $50 holding deposit, then $50 per day plus delivery fee depending on location.

Built in Pennsylvania, the seeder has 5.5″ seed spacing and is equipped with a foam marker. 12 feet long. It has a swing tongue that allows it to fold to 8’8″ for easy road transport. BCD will provide training and support, and will assist with delivery and pickup as needed. Rental agreement required for rental.

Checchi & Magli Trium 2 Row No-Till Transplanter – Atlas Farm

To make a rental reservation, contact Gideon Porth

Rental fee: $50/day.

Availability subject to the needs of Atlas Farm. Pick up at Atlas Farm, 635 River Road, Deerfield MA 01342. Renters are responsible for any damage done to the machine and must sign a damage waiver.

Find It Locally

Search CISA’s online guide to local farms, food, and more!

Find Local Food

For more information about CISA’s Climate Program, contact Stephen Taranto at or 413-665-7100, ext. 17.