Launched in 2017, Agriclimat is an approach of Quebec farm producers with the goal of better understanding the impacts of climate change in agriculture and adapting to them.

Coordinated by the Conseil pour le développement de l’agriculture du Québec (CDAQ) in collaboration with the regional federations of the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) and VIA Pôle d’expertise en services-conseils agricoles, the Agriclimat project brings together farmers and other agricultural stakeholders in all agricultural regions of the province to develop climate change adaptation plans.

With its partners, Agriclimat has developed a diagnosis for the fight against climate change at the farm level. This approach has two main components: adaptation to climate change and improvement of the carbon footprint. To achieve this, farmers, advisors and researchers pooled their knowledge to determine the current and future impacts of climate change on local agriculture. This approach was also an opportunity to identify collective agricultural issues and to explore adaptation measures.

In total, nearly 4,000 people took part in Agriclimat’s activities during its first phase, between 2017 and 2020, 50% of whom were farm producers. This knowledge is summarized and available for each region in the form of:

  • Awareness sheets by type of production;
  • Adaptation plans to climate change for the agricultural sector. Agriclimat’s second phase (currently underway) aims to equip farm producers and advisors to develop concrete action plans for measures to be implemented on the farm, including improving the carbon footprint by reducing GHG emissions and sequestering carbon in the soil.

Understanding and Assessing Impacts

Climate projections in Canada predict several changes that could significantly impact the agricultural sector, such as an increase in the frequency of high temperatures and periods without rain. The need to better target the threats posed by the future climate on various agricultural productions has led farmers to launch an adaptation approach for Quebec farms. The fundamental objective of this approach is to strengthen the capacity of farms to adapt to new climatic realities in order to ensure food security, the financial health of farms and the quality of the environment.

In 2017, the Conseil pour le développement de l’agriculture du Québec set up Agriclimat, an approach for adapting Quebec farms to fight against climate change and increase the resilience of agricultural ecosystems. Funded by the provincial and federal governments, and supported by Ouranos and various players in the research and agricultural consulting sectors, Agriclimat is now active in all agricultural regions of the province.

More precisely, the objectives of the Agriclimat project are as follows:

  • Raise awareness of climate-change-related issues among farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
  • Give farmers and other stakeholders a chance to learn about the climate scenarios in their respective regions.
  • Gather and disseminate current information in the form of fact sheets, training and conferences.
  • Collaborate with regional working groups to identify climate change issues and analyze options for action.
  • Create and make available a climate change diagnostic, including future climate adaptation measures and carbon footprint improvement.

The first phase of the project (2017-2020) aimed to assess climate risks at the regional scale as well as the vulnerabilities of agricultural production related to them. Climate projections for each region were produced by Ouranos, a climate consortium. The projections were established specifically for climatic factors that will impact agricultural production the most by the year 2050. Subsequently, in a co-construction mode with the agricultural stakeholders, the impacts of the climate scenarios on the main agricultural productions were assessed. Discussions and assessments were carried out through regional working groups comprised of farm producers and industry stakeholders. These working groups have the mandate to identify the issues, threats and opportunities as well as the adaptation measures to be implemented in their region.

For each region, a duo of facilitators is formed comprised of a resource person from the regional federation of the Union des Producteurs Agricoles (UPA) and an agronomist from an Agri-Counsel Club. Training activities were offered to these professionals in order to equip them to carry out the approach and to remain available resources for their region.

Identifying Actions

The adaptation plans produced in the first phase made it possible to establish the major climate issues specific to the various agricultural sectors in each region. These have been published and are now included in the second phase of the project aimed at developing concrete actions adapted to the local context. This phase will take place from 2021 to 2024 with the support of the Action-Climat Québec program of the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC). The goal of this phase is to suggest concrete initiatives and actions to be tested, namely through pilot projects at the farm level, in order to better guide the adaptation process and, ultimately, to produce an action plan specific to all regions of the province and each type of production. Moreover, this second phase also aims to integrate the fight against climate change by participating in the development of a platform for monitoring GHG emissions specific to the agricultural sector with Ouranos, including the effects of carbon capture. With this platform, it will be possible to model different climate impacts and GHG emission scenarios, at the very precise scale of the farm.

The implementation of the tests and pilot projects follows specific steps. For each participating farm, risks are prioritized based on farm-level climate modelling and courses of action are discussed and selected with the help of the local Agri-Counsel Club advisor. Agriclimat provides ongoing support during this process, if needed. At the same time, a carbon footprint assessment is conducted to start a discussion on the emissions produced by the farm in question. Finally, actions that bring co-benefits in both mitigation and adaptation are prioritized in the initiatives to be implemented on the farm.


The implementation of collective projects aimed at adapting agriculture is carried out by the regional federations of the UPA, by the various organizations present in each region and by provincial programs that are adapted to the needs of the agricultural world. In addition, municipal stakeholders are inspired to adapt their territorial planning and to adjust their interactions with the agricultural community.

The diagnosis of the fight against climate change leads to the development of a specific action plan for each farm business. Some actions are implemented thanks to the support of the company’s direct council. For other actions, various specialists (e.g. in irrigation, barn climate management and nutritionists) must be called upon to support the producers in the choices available to them. Provincial and federal funding programs can cover certain actions, but some are less well-known and do not receive specific support.

The ultimate goal of this approach is to ensure the continuous production of knowledge regarding the adaptation of farm businesses and the improvement of their carbon footprint with the close collaboration of farmers, advisors and researchers.

Outcomes and Monitoring Progress

All of the considerations and assessments carried out have made it possible to produce regional plans for the adaptation of agriculture to climate change as well as regional awareness sheets that address, by agricultural production, the main changes expected, the threats to production and the ways to adapt to them. These documents are still widely used by farmers, advisors and stakeholders in the agricultural world.

The regional working groups established in 2017 are continuing and deepening their mandates. These groups are addressing the evolution of collective adaptation projects, but are also at the heart of determining ways to facilitate the adoption of agricultural practices that reduce GHG emissions and promote carbon sequestration in businesses in their region.

The results of the diagnostic pilot at farm level are shared within the regions and production sectors in order to educate and raise awareness among farmers, advisors and various stakeholders about the issues facing farmers in the fight against climate change.

Agriclimat has developed a service offer for the training of agricultural advisors and farmers. Advisors who wish to offer the diagnostic service related to the fight against climate change are trained and supported by the Agriclimat team. Recognized for its scientific rigour, Agriclimat’s diagnostic service helps determine concrete courses of action for farmers to effectively fight climate change.

Next Steps

The CDAQ supports Agriclimat in its development and ensures that the current service offer is maintained. Starting in 2024, agricultural advisors will be able to conduct climate change diagnoses for their network of agricultural farmers following training from Agriclimat. Agriclimat will continue to use the PAVICS platform from Ouranos and will be responsible for validating the company’s adaptation assessment and carbon footprint, all with a view to ensuring consistency and scientific rigour.