Faced with news of climate change, farmers can react in any number of ways. They can ignore it, dismiss it, argue its validity, challenge the root causes. California farmer Don Cameron decided to embrace adaptation on his farm.
“As farmers, we need to be aware of the changes and shift our selections to varieties that are more tolerant to warmer temperatures,” he told The Desert Sun. “There is a wide genetic variety within species and new varieties within crops each year. We need to be looking for varieties that perform well in warmer climates. The selection of crops may have to change as well.”
For example, Cameron’s Fresno County pistachio crop didn’t receive the amount of chilling hours they required to enter dormancy in 2015. That sliced his yields by 35% to 40%, he says. On a more positive note, their pepper crop can stretch further into the fall due to longer, warmer weather.
Cameron’s farm is also working on an “on-farm recharge” project that captures floodwater and recharges their underground aquifer to defend against drought.
“We know that we will see more flood and drought and less snowpack in future years, and that will make our project key to replenishment of groundwater in our basin,” he told The Desert Sun.
Click here to read Cameron’s full Q&A interview with the newspaper.