New Climate Resiliency Program Aims to Assist in ‘Challenges Our Farm Hasn’t Faced Before’

EAST LANSING, Mich. — During her testimony to the Michigan House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and Rural Development and Natural Resources, Jeanie Igl, a fourth-generation farmer based in Ingham County, detailed how climate change has impacted her family’s farm. 

“It’s not my dad’s farm anymore,” she said during the testimony. “It’s a new farm. We’re facing challenges our farm hasn’t faced before.” 

On March 12, 2024, Igl joined MSU AgBioResearch director George Smith, MSU Extension director Quentin Tyler and other Michigan farmers to testify on how the newly announced Agricultural Climate Resiliency Program can address climate issues farmers are facing and prepare plant industries for the future. 

The program stems from a partnership among the Michigan Plant Coalition, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), and Michigan State University. With an MDARD budget of $1 million in recurring funds to support MSU faculty and Extension positions, and a one-time investment of $5 million to kickstart a competitive grants program, the initiative will bolster climate change research in areas such as soil health, water quality, water use efficiency, pest management and economic impact on Michigan farms. 

Hawkins Homestead, which has been in Igl’s family since 1862, started as a dairy farm. After Igl’s father learned he was allergic to cattle in 1979, the farm switched from producing dairy to growing corn, wheat and soybeans. Since 2012, it’s grown just corn and soybeans.

Igl said she’s in the process of adding a new generation to the farm by transitioning it over to her daughter and son-in-law. Their family has found ways to make the farm more sustainable heading into the future, such as not tilling the soil to limit erosion and using innovative technology to care for the fields accurately and precisely. Nevertheless, Igl said she still communicates the importance of staying up to date on how the climate impacts the farm. 

“We keep telling them, ‘Learn, learn, learn,’” Igl said. “Read the magazines. Listen to the podcasts. They haven’t seen the history I have — how different the farm is from when I was a kid in the ‘60s and ‘70s to what it is now. I relay that to them so that they’re prepared and know the climate has been changing and will continue to change.”   

Tyler said the role MSU Extension serves in providing accurate and timely information farmers can use to make knowledgeable decisions on their farms will remain a priority within the Agricultural Climate Resiliency Program. 

“This program will advance the critical research needed in areas MSU Extension educators assist with daily,” Tyler said. “Sharing the results that come from these studies as applicable resources is paramount to addressing the emerging concerns Michigan farmers and industry leaders have expressed around shielding crops from shifting climate patterns.” 

*This article is part of an ongoing series highlighting the newly announced Agricultural Climate Resiliency Program, an initiative created by the Michigan Plant Coalition, Michigan State University and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) to address long-term climate and water issues in agriculture. To read the entire series, visit

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Michigan State University AgBioResearch scientists discover dynamic solutions for food systems and the environment. More than 300 MSU faculty conduct leading-edge research on a variety of topics, from health and climate to agriculture and natural resources. Originally formed in 1888 as the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, MSU AgBioResearch oversees numerous on-campus research facilities, as well as 15 outlying centers throughout Michigan. To learn more, visit