Farming and climate change: Supporting producers while encouraging sustainability


Staff member
By Sara Beth Dacombe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Around the world, climate change is affecting the way humans grow food.
Farming has always been highly dependent on weather conditions and the length of the growing season, and it takes both knowledge and experience to determine when to plant which crops and where.
Even experienced farmers have no guaranteed formula for success.
Although the Canadian prairies are sometimes called the breadbasket of the world, local farmers are not unaffected by changing climate trends.
In fact, they are in the midst of ongoing discussions surrounding agricultural practices right here at home and how farming in our area both contributes to and is affected by climate change.
Many are facing these changes with openness and curiosity. Others find it difficult to engage in climate discussions without feeling anxiety for the future. Still others actively look for ways to introduce new initiatives to their farms. And of course there are those who are resistant to change and prefer to do things the way they have always done them.
All of them desire to continue feeding the local and global community more effectively, while making sure that viable farmland remains healthy for generations to come.
The Long Hot Summer
Marc Loeppky and Holly Lamont are two farmers from southeast Manitoba.
While Loeppky works a large-scale operation and Lamont owns a small family farm, their reflections on climate change come at time when both have just come through the same growing season that brought the concurrent challenges of high temperatures, low rainfall, and long periods of strong wind.
It hasn’t been an easy ride, any any means.
“The 2021 growing season was a rollercoaster,” says Lamont, who owns ten acres between Highway 311 and Prefontaine Road about four miles west of Highway 59. “There was quite a bit of wind erosion in this area for people who had tilled in the fall of 2020, leaving all that topsoil loose, and then 2020 also had a windy winter with not as much snow cover. So by spring our topsoil had been tossed around. That was a lesson for us.”
Lamont and her husband have owned their property for four years since moving from Saskatchewan.
Both have post-secondary degrees in agriculture and haved worked hard to put that education to use when developing their approach to farming.
“This spring, we had started off with thinking that much of our seeds would not germinate due to being overly saturated early on,” she says. “Then it started to dry up and we saw some plants—first our cucumbers, then pumpkins—start to emerge. There wasn’t much emerging, so I kind of thought that our season was...continued.

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