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Growing opportunities if warm temps become the norm: Expert

(Photo credit: Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

Climatologist feels the impact on agriculture would give local farmers a chance to plant exotic crops

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) –¬†You might be enjoying all this warm weather, but what if the toasty temps we’re seeing this week becomes the new norm?

One of Canada’s top climatologists is giving us some insight on potential impacts on agriculture, and he says it wouldn’t necessarily be all negative.

“I think what we’ll see are opportunities for growing crops that will be similar crops but maybe a different hybrid, which will be able to increase productivity… certain aspects of blueberries that might be more advantageous and [more] desirable with a warmer kind of a climate or different aspects of a climate. It could be very well the same crop, but you could take advantage of the change in climate to be able to do more, get productivity higher or sweeter, just some aspect of it that makes it more desirable,” explains David Phillips with Environment Canada.

He says there may also be an ability to grow more exotic produce.

“It’s not as if it’s going pineapples and bananas, I mean that may eventually come, but I think that we’re going to gradually see more agricultural zones that will be possible. Things that would only be possible say south of the border, and would only be on really rare occasions would be possible in British Columbia. It’s exciting times. I mean it’s not as if it’s to be doom and gloom, and there are clearly opportunities, but only opportunities when people recognize that our climate is changing and that we need to recognize that and begin to take advantage of it.”

Phillips adds blueberry, strawberry, and corn growers have already had a taste of one of the challenges that come with warmer weather, pointing to last summer.

He says everything came on stream at the same time and there wasn’t enough labour to get it all picked.