Read about Metro Vancouver’s current climate action projects related to Agriculture, search for technical data, and explore best practices from our region. You can also browse our management plans and policies, and find links to what other cities, provinces and countries are doing to address climate change.

About This Priority

Metro Vancouver recognizes that the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada are the leading agencies supporting the transition of agriculture to lower greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to a changing climate. At the same time, the role of protecting agricultural land and the associated benefits to communities are multi-jurisdictional creating opportunities for the regional district and local governments to provide leadership, convene and collaborate on joint initiatives.

Agriculture is an industry engaged in the production of plants and animals for food and fiber that contributes to the economy and food security in the region. Agricultural land also provides societal benefits such as storm and flood management, nutrient and organic matter recycling, and wildlife habitat. Improvements to farm practices can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural industry (currently about 3% of the regional total). Protecting agricultural land and enhancing local food production are a priority for building resilience in the region.

Climate 2050: Agriculture

Agriculture (food, livestock, greenhouses) provides food security, storm and flood management and wildlife habitat. Farm practices can reduce emissions from farm production (heating, livestock, off-road vehicles).

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Anticipated Impacts


Historically, agriculture has been dependent on a stable climate. Future uncertainty and extremes in precipitation and temperature will have immediate impacts on food production in all parts of the world. Climate models predict there will be both positive and negative consequences for agriculture.

  • Increasing spring precipitation and extreme rainfall events increases the potential for waterlogged soils, flooding, inadequate soil drainage and soil compaction.
  • Longer summer drought conditions will increase the demand for supplementary irrigation.
  • Rising average temperatures can enable a greater range of crops grown and a longer growing season while decreasing heating costs for greenhouses in cooler months.
  • At the same time, rising temperatures increase cooling needs and energy use for livestock facilities and greenhouses during the summer and can exacerbate pest and disease problems and increase irrigation demand.
  • Rising sea levels can limit access to irrigation water from the Fraser River, and storm surges may require dike upgrades and other coastal flood protection measures to prevent agricultural land from flooding during the growing season.

Featured Story: Farmland Matching in Surrey

Finding land is difficult for new farmers in the Lower Mainland, but a City of Surrey pilot project called FarmableNOW connects new farmers to land owners with available fertile Fraser Valley land. It's an online portal for new and established farmers to find, lease and grow their farm.

 

Opportunities


  • Improvements in the types of livestock feed and manure handling can reduce methane, while changes in soil management practices can reduce the release of N2O.
  • Alternative fuels, such as biofuels, can be used to run farm equipment, heat greenhouses and lower carbon emissions.

 

Learn More About Climate Change

Climate change is already affecting our planet and our region in profound ways, making our summers hotter and drier, our winters warmer and wetter, and increasing the occurrence of extreme weather events.

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