Agriculture

Impacts

  • Crops: A warmer, wetter future may allow for a longer season, higher heat crop varieties, and more crop types in general.  There may be greater opportunities for cash crops such as corn and soybeans and more diverse fruit trees.
  • Biomass Opportunities: There may also be increasing interest in biomass production from land that is no longer cultivated.  All of this must be tempered by quantity and quality of the soil, which is relatively fragile. Only 29% of Nova Scotia’s agricultural land is used for crops; most has a more permanent use for pasture or hay.
  • Pests: A warmer, wetter future also favours a more diverse pest population. The time and effort needed to develop new pest control methods is significant, and this could be challenging for a market as small as Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada.

Adaptation

  • Research: Take steps to better understand what crops are most vulnerable and most resilient to climate variability and extremes in Nova Scotia and then changing crop selection practices accordingly.  Carefully consider crop selection and soil management practices.
  • Enhance Biodiversity: Investigate opportunities for crop diversification to ensure biodiversity and wide ranging economic opportunities in the agricultural sector.
  • Manage Soil: Re-examine soil management practices to ensure soil in Nova Scotia suits the needs of resilient crop varieties and that measures are in place to manage soil erosion.
  • Manage Water: Re-examine agricultural water management practices for opportunities to enhance water conservation and efficiency, address water shortages and guard against possible salt-water intrusion into agricultural water supply.
  • Control Pests: Enhance existing or introducing new pest management measures to guard against new or existing agricultural pests.
  • Encourage Sustainability: Promote sustainable agricultural practices generally and sustainable resource use.
  • Protect: Take steps to enhance dykes and flood control structures to protect Nova Scotia’s Agricultural Marshlands from sea-level rise along the Bay of Fundy.