Three agricultural producers were asked in the winter of 2018 to explain how they would adapt their land management practices to a changing climate in Alberta. Listen to what they had to say. Featuring Amber Kenyon, Kris Vester and Heather Kerschbaumer.
(5:23) As the climate changes, not just the temperature trends will change over the next century. There will also be an expected increase in precipitation, but overall less soil moisture because of the increased heat. There will also be more extreme weather events, such as droughts. These trends will affect the agricultural industry as they will result in a longer growing season and less available water.
(18:35) Increasing the drought resiliency in the land is a major focus of Amber Kenyon’s operation moving forward as agricultural producers continue to experience drier and drier weather. Kenyon and her husband have adapted a method of rotational grazing for their cattle and hog operation that manages the soil to keep it healthy and able to retain much more moisture than before. This will allow them to become more resistant to drier conditions and continue to graze their livestock during drought periods
(24:19) Kris Vester says as crops are ready for harvest sooner than before and the warmer weather has made it more difficult to cold storage harvested crops, it has become essential to have a market available that is capable of absorbing high quantities of produce very quickly. They have achieved this through wholesaling crops and participating in CSA farmers markets.
(31:24) By increasing diversity in your production system, you are increasing the chances that you, as a producer, will have a crop that thrives in Alberta’s changing conditions. Diversity is the insurance policy of the planet and should also become the insurance policy of our farmers.
(37:47) Heather Kerschbaumer says as it gets hotter, there will be more heat units and more frost free days. Producers will have the opportunity to grow new crops that they were unable to in the past, so adapting to the changing environment and working with the changes will be important as the climate continues to change over the next century.
Want to learn more? Listen to How Organics Fight Climate Change with Dr. Tracy Misiewicz, formerly of The Organic Center.