University of Winnipeg

Roy McLaren: A Conversation about Climate Change and Farming

Roy McLaren: A Conversation about Climate Change and Farming

Roy McLaren has a lifetime of farming experience: he’s farmed in southwest Manitoba for over 70 years. He looks at the climate projections presented in the Prairie Climate Atlas with concern. “That is pretty bad,” he says, looking at maps projecting a huge increase in very hot weather. “With that kind of heat,” McLaren muses, “we’d have to change our farming methods. We’d have to adopt new crops.”

The Prairie Climate Centre connects rigorous climate science with human stories grounded in local experience. That means we love talking with experts like Roy, whose decades of farming experience let him make sense of what climate change means for agriculture in southern Manitoba. In this video, Prairie Climate Centre Co-director Ian Mauro shows Roy some key future climate projections for the province in a conversation about what global warming means for modern farming.

The PCC has been reaching out to talk with individual producers such as Roy, but we also collaborate with farm groups such as Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP). During the production of our new coast-to-coast-to-coast interactive Climate Atlas of Canada, we worked with KAP to develop agriculture-specific climate indicators and seasonal definitions that would be specifically helpful for farmers. The all-new Climate Atlas thus presents maps and data about variables such as corn heat units, growing degree days, and frost dates that were calculated as a result of this collaboration. (Read more about our work with KAP, and more generally about the climate change-agriculture connection in their report Agricultural Solutions to Climate Change: Findings from the Manitoba Agricultural Climate Initiative.).

Our new Climate Atlas has tools that have been specifically designed to allow producers like Roy, groups like KAP, and farming communities in general to explore, better understand, and contribute their insights to addressing the implications and risks of climate change. By creating connections between climate science and farm-level knowledge, the Prairie Climate Centre believes that we can seed local climate solutions across the landscape.

The Prairie Climate Centre is committed to making climate change meaningful and relevant to Canadians. We explain and communicate climate change through maps, videos, reports, and web content like this. Sign up for our mailing list to stay informed about our work and about new developments in climate change science and policy. Help us move Canada from climate risk to resilience.

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