BC Farmers & Researchers Team Up on Climate Change Adaptation

British Columbia Farmers and Researchers Team Up on Climate Change Adaptation

VICTORIA – Over the next four years, farmers and researchers across the province will be working together to demonstrate and evaluate technologies and practices that increase the resilience of British Columbia’s (B.C.) farms and ranches as producers adapt to a changing climate.

Thanks to funding through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, delivered through the Farm Adaptation Innovator Program (FAIP), 10 new applied research projects will explore solutions to climate change-related challenges facing agricultural commodities across B.C.

Two projects, one led by the BC Forage Council and one led by the Peace River Forage Association of British Columbia, will investigate how innovations in forage management practices and technologies can improve soil health and boost yields while enhancing resilience to drought conditions and extreme rainfall. The projects, taking place in partnership with producers in the Cariboo and Peace regions, will also evaluate how these practices impact the capacity of the soil to store carbon and contribute to the removal of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere.

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is leading a project – in collaboration with vegetable producers in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Kootenay & Boundary regions – where on-farm trials will be used to implement, monitor and model soil and water management practices. The project will evaluate which practices are best for long-term soil health, based on regional climate conditions and soil type, to ensure soils are more resilient to the extreme rainfall and drought conditions expected with a changing climate.

Changing climate conditions are also resulting in shifting pest populations, and E.S. Cropconsult is leading two projects focusing on pest management. One project will test new pest management solutions with blueberry growers in the Lower Mainland, and one will increase access to pest management resources for small-scale berry and vegetable producers in the Lower Mainland and Squamish-Lillooet regions.

All 10 projects will include field trials, demonstrations and the development of producer-focused informational resources that will allow research results to be shared broadly.

The Farm Adaptation Innovator Program is part of the $6-million Climate Change Adaptation Program funded by the federal and provincial governments through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and is delivered by the BC Agriculture & Food Climate Action Initiative (CAI).

Quotes: 

Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Canadian farmers and ranchers are on the front lines of climate change and are key players in the fight against it. Our Government knows the environment and the economy go hand-in-hand, and we will continue working together with B.C. researchers and producers to find innovative and sustainable solutions that will help farmers across the province to adapt while remaining competitive.”

Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture for British Columbia

“When it comes to climate change, we have to work together to adapt. The Farm Adaptation Innovator Program is about farmers and researchers collaborating on solutions and results that can be shared throughout the province. Farmers work hard to offer British Columbians fresh and local products year round, and these projects will support our food security in the future.”

Serena Black, BC Forage Council (Project: Innovative pasture rejuvenation practices in B.C.’s central and northern interior)

“The Farm Adaptation Innovator Program enables producers to partner with researchers to trial innovative practices on-farm that address the immediate and long-term impacts of climate change. It also assists industry associations to work proactively with producers to ensure they are resilient and profitable into the future.”

Sean Smukler, UBC (Project: Too much water or too little: climate-resilient vegetable farming)

“The Farm Adaptation Innovator Program supports researchers conducting applied research at the farm level. The benefit of this approach is that researchers have the opportunity to work with producers to co-develop research questions, to trial practices or technologies on working farms, and to share the research process and findings directly with other producers.”

Key Facts:

  • $1.4 million has been allocated across 10 FAIP projects to support research and knowledge sharing to help B.C. farmers adapt to climate change.
  •  Project and funding partners are providing an additional $500,000 in project funding.
  • Project work will begin in spring 2019 and run for up to four years.
  • Fifteen projects were completed under FAIP between 2014 and 2018.
  • FAIP is funded by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $3 billion investment by the federal-provincial-territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector.
  • The BC Agriculture & Food Climate Action Initiative (CAI) develops tools and resources that increase the capacity of agriculture to adapt to climate change. Guided by industry, CAI brings together producers, government and researchers to develop a strategic, proactive and pan-agricultural approach to climate adaptation.

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