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.
Featured State Resources
California Department of Food and AgricultureCalifornia’s Healthy Soils Action Plan is an interagency plan resulting from the Healthy Soils Initiative lead by the California Department ...
California Department of Food and AgricultureThe California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) facilitates farmer-to-farmer learning and international information sharing on climate change impacts, mitigation, ...