Many farmers stop listening as soon as you start talking about sustainability and climate change, admits Fred Yoder, an Ohio farmer and former president of the National Corn Growers Association.

But, he points out, they’ll talk all afternoon about how the weather has become more erratic and what they’re doing on their farms to adapt to the changes they’re experiencing.

"It’s been very difficult to get farmers to talk about climate change. We’ve politicized the whole thing," Yoder said last week at the Resilient Agriculture Conference hosted by Iowa State University. "Today’s weather is much less predictable. We’ve got to stop talking about who’s to blame for it and talk about how to feed 9 billion people."

Oftentimes, he says, the practices farmers have implemented to deal with increasingly extreme weather — such as reduced tillage, more conservation efforts and subsurface tile drainage — are also...