Agricultural adaptations to changing climate in Colorado

  • Mon 10 Jun 19

    13:00 - 14:00

  • Colchester Campus

    STEM 3.1

  • Event speaker

    Cindy Lair Teyf (Colorado State Conservation Board, Colorado State Government)

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Life Sciences, School of

  • Contact details

    Dr Patrick Varga-Weisz

Colorado is a state of climate extremes. To live there a person must expect floods, drought, hail, wildfire and deep snow, usually within the same year.

Speaking of climate change, especially for ideologically-populist farmers and ranchers, brings cynicism and negativity among this rural lot of independent thinkers who elected a president that paints the subject of climate change as fake news and liberally focused science.

Yet, each decade the average temperatures increase a couple degrees and some regions of the state haven’t realised a net profit or even paid on their operating loans in five years, due to ongoing, sustained drought. Many farms release more carbon than could be imagined. It’s difficult for people to acknowledge the fallacy of current accepted practices and not see the opportunity to reverse this leaking carbon system to be a carbon sink.

Creating agriculturally sustainable policy that supports the needs of rural communities, many who don’t even acknowledge that the weather has been changing, can be a challenge. The goals are to help farmers improve their operations in ways that enable soils to be more resilient to drought, increase carbon and nitrogen cycling, and improve rain infiltration and water holding capacity. Policy development requires solid science and political consciousness to engage voluntary adjustments that will be economically, socially and ecologically beneficial.

Cindy Lair Teyf has supported Colorado’s voluntary, locally governed conservation programs for 14 years. Until 2019, it was unthinkable to discuss climate adaptations without raising political arguments. Yet, ignoring the facts does not change the facts: Colorado’s climate is changing. After such a long held period of forbidden discussion, finally, a change in State and Agricultural leadership has opened a door for the first time.

In this special guest seminar, we will illustrate the transformation that is underway and the momentum for adapting cropping methods and creating opportunities to mitigate GHGs (Greenhouse Gases) that will strengthen rural agricultural communities, improve water quality and provide atmospheric co-benefits. Through demonstration and stakeholder engagement, change is underway, but not without failure and challenge.


Cindy Lair Teyf graduated from Colorado State University in Natural Resources Management and worked on soil health, sustainable ag, critical water issues and agricultural lands protection. She has extensive work experience with federal, state, county, and municipal government land management and policy development. 

Related events