Climate

Submitted by Jason Lussier, BCACARN

Climate change has created a number of production and management challenges, and some potential opportunities, for agriculture producers. Addressing climate change in the British Columbia (BC) agriculture sector is especially complex as the province has many distinct agricultural regions that will see different impacts. Producers across BC have already experienced production challenges related to unprecedented drought, floods, wildfires, and increasing variability, while some regions have also experienced new production opportunities. Climate projections by the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) suggest that these changes in climate will continue to challenge the BC agriculture sector, and extensive work is being done in the province to support producer adaptation. 

The BC Agriculture and Food Climate Action Initiative (CAI) is delivering industry-led climate adaptation programs funded by the Governments of Canada and British Columbia. This programming is part of the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s ongoing commitment to climate change adaptation in the agriculture sector. CAI was established in 2008 with the support of the BC Agriculture Council and the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, to develop tools and resources to help make the BC agriculture sector more resilient and successful in dealing with climate change. CAIs work has included the release of the BC Agriculture and Climate Change Action Plan, and the development of the Adaptation Risk & Opportunity Assessment Series and Regional Adaptation Strategies Series. More than 50 projects have been completed  through the two programs delivered by CAI - the Regional Adaptation Program and the Farm Adaptation Innovator Program. 

Continued research efforts are critical for agricultural climate change adaptation in BC, and cross-institutional collaboration is key for both informing research projects and applying research findings. In 2017, the BC Agricultural Climate Adaptation Research Network (ACARN) was launched to improve linkages between academic, government and industry groups. The network includes researchers, industry specialists, policy-makers, students, and producers from across the province and works closely with CAI to foster a collaborative approach for enhancing climate change adaptation research, education, and extension strategies. Improving the accessibility of research outcomes is a critical step for establishing more climate resilient agriculture systems in the province and ACARN is an active partner on the BC Food Web. 

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