The Gleaner
Agriculture

‘Crazy weather’ prompts plans for farmers

Agriclimat is a project that aims to help farmers across Quebec better adapt their practices as the climate changes, with the goal of improving agricultural sustainability. The endeavour began in 2017 and is led by the Conseil pour le développement de l’agriculture du Québec (CDAQ). It is funded by the provincial government. Having completed phase one of the project, Agriclimat has published its findings and is moving on to phase two.

At the start of phase one, Agriclimat put together regional working groups comprised of representatives from relevant fields, to share knowledge and develop region-specific climate change adaption plans.

“We often hear about the general impacts of climate change at the global scale, but it’s rarely specific to farming,” says Ian Ward, owner of Les Jardins Glenelm in Elgin. Ward participated as a representative for vegetable farmers in the Montérégie regional working group. “That’s what’s great about [this] initiative – it’s specific to each production sector and also to each region, since the growing conditions are radically different in the Montérégie compared to the Bas-Saint-Laurent, much less the USA or Europe, so being specific is critically important.”

The information put together by Agriclimat is broken down by season and region as well as agricultural sector. There is extensive data explaining how conclusions are reached about agricultural impact, as well as ideas for solutions.

Phase two has Agriclimat collaborating with farms across the province to implement adaption plans. These plans and findings are available to the public, meaning farmers can independently apply recommendations from these plans to their farms. “They published sector- and region-specific flash cards that every farmer should check out to see what’s coming down the pipeline and how to get ready,” says Ward. “No one knows our farms as well as we do, so it’s up to all of us to get the information and start implementing the recommendations now so we’re ready. We’ve had a lot of crazy weather the last few years and it’s just going to get crazier.”

The research, adaption plans, and more information is available on the Agriclimat website. It is all available in French and some of it has been translated into English. It can be found at https://agriclimat.ca.

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