A new plan outlines climate adaptation strategies and actions for strengthening the resilience of agriculture in the Kootenay & Boundary region.
“We all now realize that climate change is a reality,” says Faye Street, who represented the Kootenay Livestock Association on the advisory committee for the Kootenay & Boundary Regional Adaptation Strategies.
“It is important for agriculture to get a head start on dealing with the negative consequences that climate change will bring. Lack of water and the extreme fire situation are some of my biggest worries.”
Regional impacts of climate change
The Kootenay & Boundary Regional Adaptation Strategies development process brought together producers, local governments and provincial and federal agencies to identify the highest priorities for agricultural adaptation in the region.
In addition to wildfire risk and lack of water, producers also identified changing insect and pest pressure, increasing seasonal flood risk and increasingly unpredictable variable weather conditions as key challenges facing the local agriculture sector.
The planning process, managed by CAI, resulted in strategies and actions for strengthening resilience in response to the identified climate impacts.
Funding for priority projects
The provincial and federal governments are providing $300,000 in funding through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to support projects identified as priority actions.
A working group with 14 member representatives from the agricultural sector and regional and provincial governments will oversee development of these projects, and CAI will manage project implementation. An estimated 4-6 projects will be completed in the region by 2022.
The Kootenay & Boundary Regional Adaptation Strategies plan is the seventh regional plan developed as part of the Regional Adaptation Program delivered by CAI.
- The total farmland in the Kootenay & Boundary regions in 2016 was over 127,000 hectares.
- The region employed over 3,700 people in the agricultural sector (both farm operators and employees) in 2016.
- Agriculture in the region is predominantly focused on cattle and hay.
- Other notable sectors include: field vegetables, tree fruits and dairy (in Central Kootenay), mixed livestock (sheep, alpacas, pork and poultry) and Christmas trees (in East Kootenay).
- Rachel Penner, Communications, BC Agriculture & Food Climate Action Initiative, 778-679-8040
- Blake Bilmer, Junior Public Affairs Officer, Ministry of Agriculture, 250-880-0439
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.