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Online course

The Future of Farming: Exploring Climate Smart Agriculture

How can we adapt farming to an uncertain future? Could the answer be Climate Smart Agriculture? Find out with this free course.


  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate


  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

The Future of Farming: Exploring Climate Smart Agriculture

Why join the course?

With irreversible global warming becoming a reality, it’s never been more important for our societies and industries to respond to our changing climate. Can farming meet this challenge?

Discover Climate Smart Agriculture and how it could be applied to farming

Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) offers one possible approach based on three principles:

  1. Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions
  2. Adaption to climate change
  3. Stable or increased food productivity

Throughout this course we will encourage you to explore these principles and take a critical look at how they could be translated into practice, using the examples of dairy farming and wine production in the EU.

We’ll examine the environmental impacts of dairy farming, the challenges farmers are facing as a result of climate change and review some climate smart approaches that might help them become more sustainable. We’ll then explore wine production looking at the influence of climate change on growing grapes in Europe, what research is being done and again how we can adapt wine production to climate change.

Understand the relationship between farming and climate change

To help demonstrate the relationship between farming and climate change (and learn how CSA could be applied) we’ll touch on global warming and greenhouse gases but also economic and political aspects related to the environment such as: food labelling, funding, policies and regulation.

Evaluate the future of Climate Smart Agriculture

We’ll discuss how to measure the impact of CSA. We’ll look at the barriers for the industry to adopting CSA and how to overcome them. We’ll also explore the critical views on the concept and compare the principles of CSA to other agricultural practices.

Download video: standard or HD

What topics will you cover?

Week 1:

  • Climate change and greenhouse gases
  • The interactions between climate change and agriculture
  • Food security
  • Climate smart agriculture; history, principles and examples
  • Different views on the food production system

Week 2:

  • The basics of milk production, cow husbandry, digestion and herd management
  • Greenhouse gas emissions and the possibilities for reducing them, within dairy farming
  • The importance of plants for our atmosphere
  • Other forms of sustainable farming
  • Possible options for reducing energy consumption

Week 3:

  • The basics of wine production
  • General, sustainable crop management practices
  • Problems for the wine industry created by climate change
  • Possibilities for adapting the wine industry to climate change
  • Examples of how data can be used to to help make decisions in agriculture
  • Critical views regarding climate smart agriculture

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

  • Investigate the interactions between climate change and agriculture, including basic facts about the effects of climate change and the most important greenhouse gases.
  • Describe the principles of climate smart agriculture, in particular the three pillars of mitigation, adaptation and productivity.
  • Explore the basics of milk and wine production, possible future problems in these sectors and how they can be subject to adaptation and mitigation.
  • Discuss the complexity of food production systems, why it can be difficult to implement climate smart agriculture and other forms of sustainable farming, and how the effects can be measured.
  • Reflect on how consumer behaviour, policies and regulations, and financial aspects influence the adoption of climate smart and other sustainable practices.

Who is the course for?

There are no special requirements for this course. It will be of particular interest to anyone concerned with modern food production, farming and environmental challenges: this could include farmers or food producers, industry partners, school teachers, or people considering studying agriculture at University.

Who will you learn with?

Jake Bishop

investigates how climate change will impact agroecosystems. He specialises in abiotic stress, and the use of beneficial insects to increase agricultural productivity and resilience to climate change.

Marie Dittmann

I am an animal scientist, currently working as a Research Fellow at the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development at the University of Reading.

Martin Lukac

I am an academic interested in effects of climate change on agriculture and forestry. I specialise in studying ecosystem productivity, carbon cycling and the link between diversity and stability.

Who developed the course?

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £49.00

Statement of Participation £34.00

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.