Using a team survey to improve team communication for enhanced delivery of agro-climate decision support tools

Linda S. Prokopy, Chad E. Hart, Raymond Massey, Melissa Widhalm, Jenna Klink, Jeffrey Andresen, James Angel, Thomas Blewett, Otto C. Doering, Roger Elmore, Benjamin M. Gramig, Patrick Guinan, Beth L. Hall, Atul Jain, Cody L. Knutson, Maria Carmen Lemos, Lois Wright Morton, Dev Niyogi, Rebecca Power, Martha D. ShulskiCarol X. Song, Eugene S. Takle, Dennis Todey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In the Midwestern United States, where a third of the world's maize crop is grown, there are few decision support tools available to help farmers and their advisors plan for an uncertain climatic future. Developing tools that are actually useful and usable to agricultural decision makers necessitates an interdisciplinary team of climate scientists, agronomists, computer scientists, and social scientists. With such diversity come varying levels of engagement (e.g. co-project director, student, technician, etc.) and experience working with farmers and/or serving in an official Extension capacity. Therefore working together to address this challenging issue is not straight-forward. This paper reviews how a survey of a large interdisciplinary team working on developing decision support tools to ensure resilient maize production in this region identified differences between team members and helped improve team functioning and communication. Specifically the team survey revealed some important differences in how team members perceive farmers' use of climate information, the types of decisions that should be addressed with a tool, and how such tools should function. These differences can be primarily explained by disciplinary background and project role and have provided valuable opportunities to learn from each other and build consensus on decision support tools developed. The survey as a feed-back tool complements other team communication approaches and reminds the team of the need for continuous communication and frequent discussion of assumptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-37
Number of pages7
JournalAgricultural Systems
Volume138
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Climate
  • Communication
  • Decision support tools
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Midwestern United States
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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