Farm Adaptation Innovator Program (2013–2018)
The Farm Adaptation Innovator Program (FAIP) seeks to build adaptive capacity and encourage the adoption of effective farm practices to help mitigate impacts related to climate change by supporting projects that:
- Promote innovation in farm practices, approaches and technologies that support climate change adaptation
- Demonstrate farm practices that reduce weather related production risks, and identify new production opportunities
- Develop informational and knowledge sharing resources and support increased organization capacity to support adaptation
Five projects were initiated during the pilot phase of this program in 2014/2015. In November of 2014, the program was opened to eligible applicants through a Call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) and 47 responses were received. As a result of the EOI, an additional ten proposals were approved and a total of $1.75 million in Growing Forward funding was provided to the fifteen (now completed) projects. Project descriptions are provided below, along with project results and deliverables.
A new Farm Adaptation Innovator Program funding opportunity is coming in autumn 2018. Preliminary details about the program parameters and requirements are available on the Farm Adaptation Innovator Program (2018–2023) webpage.
Completed Farm Innovator Projects
Using Management-Intensive Grazing for Adapting to and Mitigating Climate Change
|Region||Bulkley-Nechako, Cariboo, Okanagan, Thompson-Nicola|
|Project Lead||Thompson Rivers University|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada|
|Other Partners||producer cooperators|
Download and read the project summary as a PDF: Grazing Project Leading to Greener Pastures for Climate Adaptation.
This multi-year project will evaluate the potential for Management-Intensive Grazing as a tool to strengthen the resilience of rangelands to climate change related impacts. Intensively managed pastures will be observed and compared to more extensively (traditionally) managed pastures on the ranches of 6–8 cattle producers in the BC Interior in a collaborative undertaking with the BC Cattlemen’s Association. The project will use field-based data and remote sensing to measure and monitor range health, and to test for indicators of sustainable pastures and grasslands, including soil carbon, soil moisture availability, plant diversity and productivity.
The project will engage with 5–8 cattle producer co-operators. Findings and conclusions will be communicated via field days and workshops coordinated with the BC Cattlemen’s Association and the Grasslands Conservation Council of BC, as well as through articles to industry-relevant publications. A website and fact sheets will also be created for broad distribution.
For more details and updates on this project, visit the project website at: https://grazingmgtandclimatechange.wordpress.com
Vented Orchard Covers to Protect Cherries Against Rain & Hail
|Project Lead||Coral Beach Farms Ltd.|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture, Coral Beach Farms Ltd|
A BC cherry orchard tested vented orchard covers as a tool to protect tender fruit against rain and hail damage. The technology was pioneered in Europe, where it has been used to substantially reduce rain and hail related fruit damage, and increase water use efficiency in orchards. The project evaluated the risks and the economic benefits of using vented orchard covers (in combination with wind machines) under current growing conditions in the Okanagan. Project findings will assist producers to assess the potential for this technology to reduce vulnerability to impacts associated with climate change.
The evaluation compared fruit quality and water use efficiency for cherries grown inside and outside the vented covers, gathered data over three years and provides a cost-benefit analysis that has been shared with other growers through publications, site visits and presentations.
Demonstrating Innovative Forage Production Practices to Increase Climate Change Adaptation
|Project Lead||BC Forage Council|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture, Nechako-Kitimaat Development Fund Society, Omineca Beetle Coalition|
|Other Partners||Nechako Regional Cattlemen|
Download and read the project summary as a PDF: Forage Practices Form Foundation of On-farm Research Toolkit.
The ability to consistently produce a suitable volume of export grade, higher value forage in BC’s Central Interior is limited by variable weather conditions usually experienced during the harvest windows. Several forage yield evaluations have been conducted in the Central Interior of BC, but there is little information available on the relationship between weather and forage quality. Producers are also looking for adaptive production options for on-farm feeding and grazing. This project will assist in the development of production and harvest adaptations focused on growing high quality forage under a variety of conditions.
The project includes the installation of weather stations, evaluation of production practices through on-farm trials, and the linking of weather data and results of the farm trials. The project also includes the creation of a manual to assist producers with conducting their own on-farm trials. The combination of project activities seeks to increase information and management options available to producers to assist them in responding to changes in growing conditions.
Participating producers will directly increase their knowledge/capacity. Field days, conducted on participating farms, will share knowledge with area producers. Articles, factsheets, and photos will be posted on Farmwest website. The manual will be made available to producers throughout BC at the end of the project in both an online and hard copy format. Project outcomes will also be presented at a seminar-type event.
Evaluation of Thrips Damage to Potatoes in a Changing Climate
|Project Lead||E.S. Cropconsult Ltd.|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture, BC Potato and Vegetable Growers’ Association, E.S. Cropconsult, Lower Mainland Horticulture Improvement Association|
|Other Partners||Agassiz Research Station, cooperating growers, Douglas College, agricultural suppliers|
Download and read the project summary as a PDF: Changing Climate Creates Emerging Challenge with Thrips.
Potatoes are an important crop in BC and their production requires management of many pests, including thrips. The Fraser Valley is expected to have hotter and drier summer conditions and milder winters. Thrips multiply in hot, dry weather and milder winters may also increase winter survival rates. Currently, there are no economic thresholds established for growers for managing thrips outbreaks. In addition to a lack of management tools, little information is available about how thrips impact potato production and subsequent profit.
Working with 16 producer cooperators who grow seed, organic and conventional potatoes, this project will assess: how potato yields are affected by thrips at varying crop stages, local thrips transmission of tomato spotted wilt virus, and the varietal preferences of thrips (all in relation to measured growing season weather conditions). The project also includes extensive knowledge transfer through direct participation of 16-20 growers, presentations at the Lower Mainland Horticulture Improvement Association short course and/or the BC Potato and Vegetable Growers’ Annual General Meeting, a fact sheet and poster widely distributed to BC Potato Growers, and articles in Modern Agriculture and/or Country Life in BC. This will better prepare growers to manage this pest through changing climate conditions.
Economic, Social & Environmental Benefits of Riparian Rehabilitation as a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy
|Project Lead||University of British Columbia|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture, UBC Research Funding|
|Other Partners||Alderson Creek Rehabilitation Environmental Society, BC Cattlemen Association: Farmland-Riparian Interface Stewardship Program|
Natural watersheds are inherently resilient and adaptable in the face of altered conditions. Rehabilitation of degraded riparian corridors running through agricultural land is important because natural stream systems provide considerable buffering capacity to absorb the impacts of floods, heat waves, infestations, and other extreme events, thereby offering adaptive capacity to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
This project assessed a group riparian restoration process (supported through the Environmental Farm Plan program) that involves producers in the Alderson Creek drainage in the Fortune Creek Watershed near Armstrong, BC. The project assessed baseline conditions of two creeks (a control and a creek that would undergo restoration) in order to assess biophysical conditions before and after implementation of best management practices.
The project quantified social, economic and bio-physical variables relevant to the project as well as stakeholder attitudes, opinions, and knowledge exchange. The findings were communicated through two workshops (toward the end of the project), producer bulletins (fact sheets), academic publications and media.
- Barriers & Opportunities for Riparian Rehabilitation via Collaborative Co-Management (2018 factsheet) (654 KB pdf)
- Climate Change Adaptation: What Does It Mean to the Small Landowner? (2018 factsheet) (1 MB pdf)
- Social Costs & Benefits of a Group Environmental Farm Plan: Alderson Creek, BC (2018 factsheet) (572 KB pdf)
- Land Management Practices & Their Effect on Stream Health on Small Farms & Ranches (2018 factsheet) (407 KB pdf)
- Economic, Social & Environmental Benefits of Riparian Rehabilitation as a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (2018 appendix 1) (10 MB pdf)
- Economic, Social & Environmental Benefits of Riparian Rehabilitation as a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (2018 appendix 2) (1 MB pdf)
- Economic, Social & Environmental Benefits of Riparian Rehabilitation as a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (2018 appendix 3) (2 MB pdf)
- Economic, Social & Environmental Benefits of Riparian Rehabilitation as a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (2018 report) (5 MB pdf)
Strategies to Improve Forage Yield & Quality While Adapting to Climate Change
|Project Lead||Pacific Field Corn Association|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture, BC Dairy Association (DIREC), Pacific Field Corn Association|
|Other Partners||BC Forage Council, Holberg Farm Ltd, seed industry|
Anticipated changes in climate may impact forage production in the Fraser Valley through increased erosion risk, delays in spring planting, and potential for lower yields due to a shorter growing season with more prolonged hot and dry periods. Developing a toolkit of practical adaptive management strategies will assist forage producers in the Fraser Valley and on Vancouver Island to improve yield and quality of forage crops under future scenarios of changing climate and increasingly variable weather.
The project will test and demonstrate corn hybrids suited to both late planting and/or early harvesting and that are heat and flood tolerant, as well as winter crops (including grasses, legumes and cereals) that are amenable to a range of planting and harvesting dates. To address the climate change scenario of extended hot dry periods during the growing season, the project will introduce, test and demonstrate advanced irrigation practices (for their role in profitable and sustainable production).
Project findings, will be shared through field days, industry presentations and publications, and through the Pacific Field Corn Association website.
Adapting BC Horticulture through Protected-Crop Research & Demonstration
|Region||Cariboo, Lower Mainland|
|Project Lead||UBC Faculty of Land & Food Systems|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm, Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada, UBC Faculty of Land & Food Systems|
|Other Partners||AT Films Inc, Cropthorne Farm Ltd, Dubois Agrinovation, Mackin Creek Farm, Osborne Seed Company|
Download and read the project summary as a PDF: Helping Farmers Get a Jump on Growing Season with Crop Protection.
This project will evaluate to effectiveness of a range of plastic film mulches and low tunnels in modifying soil and horticultural crop environments to support adaptation to anticipated changes in climate in BC (in particular changes and variability in regional temperatures, increases in spring runoff and rainfall, and decreases in available soil water during the summer months).
This project will assess the plastic mulching the tunnel technologies for their ability to: prevent the incidence of early spring and fall frosts, raise average air and soil temperature, maximize photosynthesis, prevent condensation droplets (to decrease incidence of plant disease), and produce early season produce. Experiments will take place at UBC Farm as well as one farm in the Central Interior and one farm in the lower Fraser Valley.
The outcome of this research will be communicated to producers through field tours, presentations to producers, articles in producer journals and magazines, and findings will be integrated into the CSFS Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture curriculum.
- Effects of Various Plastic Mulches on Soil Temperature & the Surface Energy Balance (2018 factsheet) (304 KB pdf)
- Using Plastic Films in Low Tunnels for Modification of Microclimate & Enhancing Plant Growth (2018 factsheet) (301 KB pdf)
- Adapting BC Horticulture through Protected-Crop Research & Demonstration (final report) (838 KB pdf)
Innovative Management Practices for Resiliency
|Project Lead||Peace River Forage Association of BC|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture, Agribusiness, BC Grain Producers Association, Peace Region Forage Seed Association, Peace River Forage Association, Farm Cooperators, University of Northern BC|
|Other Partners||Ducks Unlimited Canada|
As weather variability and extreme weather events increase, forage producers in the Peace region will require flexible and responsive management strategies. This project will work with Peace producers using a farm systems approach to identify and to adopt nutrient management practices and forage production systems that are more resilient to weather extremes and climate change.
Three strategies will be evaluated including: 1) revitalization of forage stand options (e.g. utilizing existing on farm resources such as nutrients from confined feeding or winterfeeding sites, grazing management, seeding, fertilizing and rejuvenating forage stands to increase production); 2) establishment, production and stand longevity of legume alternatives to alfalfa; and 3) identification of ways to reduce nutrient loss. The three production strategies will be evaluated based on economic indicators, soil quality, soil and crop response and producer perspectives on the adoption of the practice.
Project findings will be shared via field days, seminars/ tours and workshops, the Peace River Forage Association’s website, newsletters and fact sheets.
- Forage Factsheets (2016 & 2017, set of 6) (10 MB zip)
Keyline Water Management: Field Research & Education in the Capital Region
|Project Lead||Hatchet & Seed|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture, Beetnik Farms, Capital Regional District Integrated Watershed Management Program, Peninsula Streams Society, Raven Hill Herb Farm|
|Other Partners||Bullock Lake Farm|
Download and read the project summary as a PDF: Australian Technique Offers Novel Approach to Water Management.
Climate change projections for Southern Vancouver Island include an overall increase in average annual rainfall but with much of this falling in winter, spring and fall (and through extreme rainfall events). Summers are anticipated to become drier with an increase in extremely hot days. These changes will require producers to increase the resilience of their operations for both drought and flood conditions.
Keyline Design takes a holistic approach to farm water management and uses natural landscape contours and cultivation techniques to slow, sink and spread rainwater more evenly across the landscape. Keyline design has been successfully applied in similar winter-rain climates in Australia, and this project introduced and tested this approach within an agricultural context in BC.
The project implemented and monitored two “Keyline Water Management” techniques — “Keyline pattern subsoil ripping” and “Keyline mound formation” — on three farms within the Capital Region with three different production models (pastured livestock, tree and herb crops, and annual vegetables). The Keyline Water Management: Field Research & Education in the Capital Region Soil Indicators Monitoring Program report below includes information on the designs implemented and results at the three farm case studies. In addition to the pilot projects at three farms, the project included “Keyline Design” seminars and public field days. Farmers were empowered to use open access GIS imaging technology to better understand their watersheds and help them use Keyline Design patterning.
Climate Change Impact Risk Assessment Tool for Ponds used as Livestock Water Sources
|Region||Bulkley-Nechako, Cariboo, Okanagan, Thompson-Nicola|
|Project Lead||Thompson Rivers University|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture|
|Other Partners||Urban Systems; Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations; Tranquille Livestock Association.|
Over the last century climate change has contributed to the loss of a large percentage of the world’s wetlands. In British Columbia’s semi-arid grassland ecosystems, there has been reduction in the size and number of cattle watering ponds. These ponds are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change that may include increasing air temperature and evaporation from ponds, along with decreased snowfall and earlier stream flow timing, which impact the available water supply in ponds.
This project will develop the framework for a demonstration tool for identifying pond types by groundwater/surface water interactions. The degree of sensitivity to climate change impacts is linked to a pond’s connectivity to groundwater. The demonstration tool will allow producers to identify the risk level associated with ponds that are important to grazing management. The project will also produce a series of maps, covering BC’s southern interior grasslands, which will use projected climate change data to identify areas at high risk of future pond loss. Knowledge of climate change impacts on ponds will empower producers to direct their resources to areas of high risk and explore options for proactive water management strategies.
The demonstration tool framework, maps and project reports will be shared for feedback via workshops, meetings and presentations for producers in both Kamloops and Kelowna. Access to the maps will be available as a layer file in Google Earth, in producer publications and on websites frequented by producers.
Expanding Cherry Production in BC under Climate Change
|Project Lead||UBC Okanagan, Biology|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture, private foundation|
|Other Partners||BC Cherry Association, BC Fruit Growers’ Association, BC Tree Fruits Cooperative, cherry producers, Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre|
Download and read the project summary as a PDF: Evaluating Opportunities to Expand Cherry Production.
With warmer temperatures and a longer growing season, the areas suitable for production of sweet cherries in the BC interior are expanding. Cherry producers can increase cherry acreage (in particular for late season cherries) by expanding production northward and by growing at higher elevations. However, water availability and soil pathogen control are key production issues. This project will study and demonstrate orchard management practices for optimizing both water use and soil biological resilience in new orchards.
The project will assess the impact and cost effectiveness of soil amendments and selected irrigation methods on water use efficiency, soil water holding capacity, crop production and soil health in two new orchards and in an established orchard.
Researchers will use greenhouse bioassays of cherry seedlings in ‘old’ and ‘new’ soils to determine whether native soil microbes will enhance or restrict cherry production in the new areas, and whether soil amendments can maintain a high buffering capacity against pathogens in new, non-fumigated soils.
The project results will be shared with BC cherry growers via presentations at annual meetings, grower-focused print publications, fact sheets, labeling of demonstration plots, and field tours.
- Evaluating the Use of Organic Amendments to Maintain Soil Health & Cherry Production Under Climate Change in BC (2018 factsheet) (3 MB pdf)
- Evaluating the Use of Postharvest Deficit Irrigation for Cherry Production Under Climate Change in BC (2018 factsheet) (3 MB pdf)
- Expanding Cherry Production in BC under Climate Change (2018 report) (992 KB pdf)
Improving On-Farm Drainage Management to Reduce the Impacts of Climate Change in Delta, BC
|Region||Delta, Fraser Valley|
|Project Lead||UBC Faculty of Land & Food Systems|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture, agriculture producers|
|Other Partners||Delta Farmers' Institute, Delta Farmland & Wildlife Trust|
Download and read the project summary as a PDF: Delta Drainage Study Lays Groundwork for Climate Adaptation.
Precipitation patterns in BC’s Fraser delta are expected to continue to shift with an increase in winter precipitation and extreme precipitation events. This has the potential to reduce the number of “workable” days for agricultural production (due to excess moisture on agricultural land), shorten growing or harvest season and/or delay planting. The changing precipitation patterns may also increase flooding and associated risk of crop loss. Increased salinization of productive soils in Delta is also a growing concern associated with climate change.
This project will demonstrate and evaluate on-farm strategies for addressing drainage and salinity problems. At two fields (with known drainage and salinity issues) three drainage management options will be installed each with three treatments of cover. Thirty additional fields (with seven producer cooperators) will be monitored and assessed for efficacy of range of drainage management practices including cleaning and maintenance on drainage tile systems.
Monitoring and data analysis related to these demonstrations will lead to updated factsheets on: drainage design criteria and recommendations, cost benefit estimates for new installations compared to maintenance, and cost benefit estimates of integrating cover crops or grassland set asides into drainage management strategies.
Sharing and transferring of results will include field days, updating of written materials (drainage manual, fact sheets) and a project website.
See also the related Regional Project: Delta – Drainage & Sub-irrigation Project.
- Evaluation of Drain Spacing & Ditch Pumps in Existing Drainage Systems in Delta, BC (2017 factsheet) (1 MB pdf)
- Impacts of Tile Drain Cleaning Over One year in Delta, BC (2017 factsheet) (617 KB pdf)
- Predicting Soil Water Content & Number of Workable Days Under Changing Climate Using DRAINMOD Model in Delta, BC (2017 factsheet) (594 KB pdf)
- Digital Soil Mapping of Soil Workability in Delta, BC (2017 factsheet) (1 MB pdf)
- Improving On-Farm Drainage Management to Reduce the Impacts of Climate Change in Delta, BC (2017 report) (11 MB pdf)
Adapting to Low Light Growing Conditions Using High Tunnel Structures
|Project Lead||Okanagan College|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture, Strategic Outreach Initiative, Terra Firma Farms, Okanagan College, Agriculture Producers|
As global temperatures rise, snowfall and accumulation will likely be reduced and replaced with increased rainfall and accompanying cloud cover. The combination of these effects over the next 30 to 50 years could have very serious implications for agricultural opportunities in the mountainous regions of BC’s interior. This project studied the viability of using high tunnel structures to improve food-crop production in locations previously seen as undesirable for commercial agriculture, and which may become even more challenging as a consequence of climate change.
This demonstration project will study the viability of winter salad green production in a low-cost, high-tunnel structure heated with a compost heat system in low light conditions, and without supplemental lighting. Data was collected on crop quality, quantity, days to harvest and planting dates. Findings on which crops are viable in the low light structure are shared in a final report, which also provides recommendations on how to construct low-cost, high-tunnel structure that will withstand snow accumulation in mountain/high altitude conditions, encourage and maintain plant growth/crop productivity and maximize light exposure and minimize input costs such as artificial lighting and heating. An overall cost-effectiveness evaluation is also included.
Climate Change Influence on Disease Control Patterns in the Okanagan Tree Fruit Industry
|Project Lead||Canadian Agricultural Services|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture, Paloverde Environmental Ltd|
|Other Partners||agriculture producers, BC Tree Fruit Cooperative, UBC Okanagan|
Climate change is causing an increase in annual temperatures (including an increase in winter minimum temperatures), shifting precipitation patterns and drier summer conditions. These effects give rise to changes in agriculture pest and disease populations including: increase in winter survival, introduction of new pests and diseases and changing ranges/distribution of pests and diseases. This can result in increased damage to crops, impacts to crop health, increased management costs and complexity, as well as decreasing effectiveness of pest models used for pest management.
This project will coordinate weather and disease data with a mapping software program allowing this relationship to be displayed geographically. This will visually convey information about disease distribution, its relative severity, its chemical resistance and its relationship to other factors such as microclimate, soils and pest management techniques. As information is gathered throughout the project, patterns will become clearer and more accurate. This project will establish a baseline for the distribution of three key disease areas: tree cankers, general fruit rot of stone fruits and soil diseases. These pathogen parameters will also be tied to soil analysis data and tree status data.
This information will be made available to the general grower population through their farm computers, through the growers cooperatives and through their independent field monitors. Broad recommendations will be summarized into reports and pest management recommendations. Project outcomes and recommendations will also be directly shared with grower groups, at meetings for extension personnel, and through industry magazines.
Optimization of Water Use in Vineyards in the Okanagan Using Precision Irrigation
|Project Lead||Le Vieux Pin Winery / Enotecca Resort|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture|
|Other Partners||BC Grape Growers Association, BC Wine Grape Council|
Climate change will result in longer periods of drought and more frequent periods of very high temperatures. These factors, paired with potential limitations on water supply at certain times of the year, will require that producers in the southern Okanagan obtain more precise information about their soils (structure, water retention capacity, macro and micro element composition) in order to better manage irrigation and fertilization practices. This project began to evaluate techniques that allow for customized irrigation of different sections of a vineyard based on varying soil characteristics within the vineyard.
The project began by conducting a detailed analysis of soil properties and mapped these differences across five vineyards. Irrigation equipment was installed for precise and timed delivery of water and nutrients specific to the mapped soil conditions. The project began initial monitoring of the total volume of water used for irrigation in the vineyards. Outside of the Farm Adaptation Innovator Program the project is continuing to monitoring water volume and is comparing this to an evaluation of the quality and quantity of production in the same vineyards.
The project is demonstrating how to reduce the amount of water used in a vineyard, by enhancing the application and the delivery of irrigation water and by controlling the amount delivered according to the soil/plant requirements. This also results in preparation for potential drought conditions by having an irrigation system designed for efficiency and precision.
Project findings to date were shared through a report (below) made widely available to the grape and wine sector, through field days and visits to the Enotecca vineyards to share and demonstrate the project, and through presentations and a workshop at The Viticulture and Ecology conferences in 2016 and in 2017.