Understanding and addressing agroclimatic risks and opportunities

The Ontario Climate and Agriculture Assessment Framework (OCAAF) is a spatially-explicit decision-support tool that assesses baseline and future agro-climatic risks and opportunities. It uses global climate model output to understand future crop suitability, and also gives a land suitability rating score under the influence of climate change. The initial design of the OCAAF was tested and refined through application to two areas and production systems: forage-based beef production in Ontario’s Great Clay Belt and corn production in southwestern Ontario. Adaptation and policy options were developed for each region and production system, which provide guidance on how to reduce climate risks and seize opportunities. For example, in southwestern Ontario, subsurface drip irrigation could help manage water at the farm level and reduce fluctuations in moisture availability. To capitalize on the improving growing conditions in the Great Clay Belt, incentives could be developed to attract new beef farmers to the area, with the goal of expanding the industry and strengthening food security in northern Ontario.

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