The success of California’s agricultural production is closely tied to the impacts of climate change. These impacts can include changes in water availability, temperatures, the prevalence of pests and diseases, and impacts to pollinators and other beneficial species, all of which directly impact crop and livestock production. Furthermore, changes in climate can create or exacerbate other environmental concerns, such as decline in water quality, groundwater security, and impacts to soil health. [1, 2, 3]

Given all of these potential impacts and the interactions between them, predicting the direct effects on agricultural production is complex. For instance, a reduction of chill hours could be harmful to many high-value crops such as fruits and nuts, and crop yields may decrease with the changing temperatures across seasons.[4, 5] On the other hand, some crop yields may increase with a warmer average temperature.

Despite the many ways that agriculture is threatened by the changing climate, the diversity of California agriculture and the State’s unique micro-climates offer a suite of potential opportunities to minimize negative impacts of climate change and to improve agricultural resiliency. Additionally, the use of precision agriculture technologies and sustainable on-farm management practices provide room for implementing climate change adaptation while at the same time reducing negative environmental impacts.

An agricultural food production sector resilient to climate change will remain diverse and highly productive in the midst of disruptions. State, regional, and local jurisdictions can support the efforts of California farmers and ranchers to adapt to climate change by developing tools, providing outreach and education opportunities, and incentivizing on-farm management practices that offer increased resiliency to climate change impacts.

All Resources for Agriculture

Climate Change Consortium for Specialty Crops Final Report

California Department of Food and Agriculture. 2013
Drought Extreme heat Flooding Temperature
Assessment Plan or strategy
In the summer of 2012, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced the formation the Climate Change Consortium for Specialty Crops to identify solutions for climate change impacts to California's valuable specialty crop industry. This report summarizes the potential impacts of climate change to California's specialty crop industry and outlines the recommendations of the Consortium.

Climate Smart Agriculture Webinar Series

California Department of Food and Agriculture. 2018
Drought Extreme heat Temperature
Communication or educational material
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) facilitates farmer-to-farmer learning and international information sharing on climate change impacts, mitigation, and adaptation through the Climate Smart Agriculture webinar series. Topics covered include irrigation water management technologies, opportunities for soil health to contribute to climate adaptation, climate smart livestock practices, and others. These webinars are a collaborative effort between CDFA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture California Climate Hub, and international partners to bring together academics, agricultural support services, and farming practitioners to discuss common challenges and potential adaptation strategies.

Southwest Regional Climate Hub and California Subsidiary Hub Assessment of Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies

United States Department of Agriculture. 2015
Drought Extreme heat Extreme storms Ocean acidification Sea level rise Temperature
This report describes the potential vulnerability of specialty crops, field crops, forests, and animal agriculture to climate-driven environmental changes. The purpose of this analysis is to describe regional vulnerabilities to climate change and adaptive actions that can be employed to maintain productivity of working lands in the coming decades.

USDA Climate Hub Tool Shed

North Carolina State University. 2018
Data, tools, and research
The Climate Hubs Tool Shed provides information on tools from across the country that can assist agricultural and forest land managers in adapting to climate variability and change. The database includes tools that are directly relevant to climate variability and change, as well as tools that assist in managing factors that interact with climate variability and change, such as drought, pests, and extreme weather. The Climate Hubs Tools Database does not recommend specific tools, but does provide guidance on appropriate tool applications. The target audience is extension and consultants, but the database could also be useful for land managers, land owners, and researchers.

Advancing Water Management in Merced County - Safeguarding California Example

California Natural Resources Agency. 2018
Project or Example
California state agencies collaborated to compile each of these examples, associated with Safeguarding California's 2018 update, to show how California is preparing for and adjusting to various extreme events brought on by climate change. Each of these examples highlights unique strategies, funded by the state, to combat and adapt to the effects of climate change. The examples are tagged with icons from the Safeguarding California Report, classifying stories by sector. This example showcases a small farm's efforts to improve their irrigation system, for water and energy efficiency.

California Climate and Hydrology Change Graphs

California Landscape Conservation Cooperative. 2018
Drought Extreme heat Sea level rise Temperature
Data, tools, and research
This graphing tool presents historical and projected climate and hydrology data values from the California Basin Characterization Model dataset plotted over time for 156 hydrologic basins that comprise hydrologic California. Information includes recharge, runoff, evapotranspiration, climatic water deficit, precipitation, temperature, and soil storage.

California Healthy Soils Action Plan

California Department of Food and Agriculture. 2016
Drought Extreme storms Flooding
Plan or strategy Planning and policy guidance
California’s Healthy Soils Action Plan is an interagency plan resulting from the Healthy Soils Initiative lead by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The Plan provides guiding principles and actions to reach the goals outlined by the interagency working group. Healthy agricultural soils have many adaptive benefits aside from increasing plant health and yields. Healthy soils increase water filtration and retention and reduce sediment erosion and dust - assisting in flood management and air and water quality control.

California Water Plan

California Department of Water Resources. 2013
Drought Snowpack
Planning and policy guidance
The California Water Plan (Water Plan) is the State government's strategic plan for managing and developing water resources statewide for current and future generations. It provides a collaborative planning framework for elected officials, agencies, tribes, water and resource managers, businesses, academia, stakeholders, and the public to develop findings and recommendations and make informed decisions for California's water future. That Water Plan consists of a strategic plan, regional reports and resource management strategies. The Water Plan was last updated in 2013 and is currently being updated for release in 2018.

City of Monterey Climate Action Plan

City of Monterey. 2016
Extreme heat Ocean acidification Sea level rise Wildfire
Plan or strategy
Chapter 1 of the 2016 Climate Action Plan lists climate impacts such as wildfire, sea level rise, extreme heat, and ocean acidification. Chapter 7 discusses an outline for a vulnerability assessment, adaptation strategy plan, and adaptation measures for fire hazards and sea level rise.

National Climate Change Viewer (NCCV)

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). 2018
Drought Extreme heat Snowpack Temperature
Data, tools, and research
The NCCV allows the user to visualize projected changes in climate (maximum and minimum air temperature and precipitation) and the water balance (snow water equivalent, runoff, soil water storage and evaporative deficit) for any state, county, and USGS Hydrologic Unit (HUC).