; Mitigating Climate-change Impacts and Reducing Risks in Foothill Agriculture | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Mitigating Climate-change Impacts and Reducing Risks in Foothill Agriculture

Cindy Fake and Daniel Macon


Producers in the California foothills face production risks due to variable climate; as well as financial and marketing risks related to farm scale and COVID-19. Foothill producers are primarily small-scale and 34.5% are beginning farmers. They are underserved by crop/livestock insurance because of the lack of cost-effective options for small and diverse operations, the dearth of insurance providers nearby, and limited coverage for specialty crops.

In the last two years, foothill producers have experienced environmental disasters including drought, flood, extreme temperature fluctuation, high winds, fire, and loss of irrigation and stock water due to power outages. These events resulted in significant losses, but few producers have the safety net of crop, livestock, or forage insurance.

University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) works with producers on strategies to reduce climate-change impacts on their operations. These include production practices and varieties that mitigate climate risks, planning and budgeting to reduce risk, disaster planning, and organized mutual assistance.

Assessing risk is a core UCCE training topic. Our beginning farming and farm business courses include individual risk assessments and development of risk management plans. Risk management is integrated into production and husbandry workshops by focusing on practices that mitigate risks. We also facilitate networks of producers who cooperate on disaster preparation and drought mitigation.

This presentation focuses on training and networking and what we’ve learned about addressing climate-change issues and practices. Our experience shows that working with small groups, facilitating information-sharing and experience among producers, often motivates other producers to implement risk management practices.