Extreme weather events, many of which were foretold by climate scientists going back decades, have been significantly impacting life in BC – across our landscapes, food systems, and homes. The forewarning has not made the events any less challenging. With climate change clearly upon us, it is easier to make the case that there is a desperate need for change. Our institutions, structures, and policies must adapt to lessen the harm wrought by extreme weather events, unprecedented temperatures, and water shortages.
A significant policy change is underway right now, as the province negotiates a bilateral agreement with the federal government for the next five-year funding agreement for agricultural programming. Launching in April 2023, the agreement is known as the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership. This agreement will see a continuation of some existing programs, refinements or expansions, and possibly new programs to address current needs.
In the coming months, the Ministry of Agriculture will hold consultations with farmers across the province to refine and ground-truth their proposals for the BC version of the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
The voices of those deeply involved in farming are vital to the creation of programming that will meet two critical needs: to help ensure that farmers can stay in business, thrive, and get food to communities in BC; and to address new needs related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enable climate-friendly and resilient farm operations.
Among possible programs under discussion are:
- Enhancing the Environmental Farm Plan to improve performance in terms of getting information to farmers, supporting their investments in climate-friendly practices and infrastructure, and reducing GHG emissions;
- Creating a more robust agricultural extension program that can help farmers and our food systems adapt to changing climate and better management practices; and
- Deepening the understanding and encouraging widespread adoption of regenerative agricultural practices.
To participate in the development of this five-year funding agreement to support BC agriculture, watch Ministry communications channels for upcoming consultation opportunities.