; Helping Producers Reduce Risks in an Uncertain Climate | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Helping Producers Reduce Risks in an Uncertain Climate

Cindy Fake


Climate variability in recent years has significantly increased risks for many small-scale producers in the California foothills. In 2019, foothill producers experienced flooding, drought, wide temperature variability, increased pest populations, high winds, and power outages to reduce fire risk, resulting in loss of irrigation and stock water. Despite these weather-related events, which resulted in significant losses, and threaten farm and ranch economic viability, some producers do not believe our climate is changing.

University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) has been working with farmers to help them plan and budget to mitigate these types of risks. Few producers (2.8%) have the safety net of crop or livestock insurance because it has not been cost-effective for small-scale and diverse farm and livestock operations. 34.5% of Placer/Nevada farmers are beginning farmers, who often have few resources and little experience or knowledge of risk assessment and planning.

Assessing risk is a core UCCE training topic, beginning with our “Start a farm” class. Our Beginning Farming and Farm Business courses include individual risk assessments and development of management plans for key risks. Risk management is integrated into production and husbandry workshops by focusing on best practices which can mitigate risks. The practices we extend are the result of applied field research.

This presentation will focus on our training methods, what we’ve learned, and how to address climate change issues and practices. Our experience shows that working with small groups, sharing information and experiences among producers, often motivates other producers to implement practices that reduce risks.