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.