Project: Ontario Climate and Agriculture Assessment Framework (OCCAF)
The success of Ontario's agri-food sector depends on knowledge of future weather and climate implications for the fundamental biological, chemical and physical components that underlie resilient and productive agri-food systems. Ontario's climate is warming and becoming increasingly variable, increasing the need to assess and manage agricultural climate risks.
The Ontario Climate and Agriculture Assessment Framework (OCAAF) is a decision-making framework designed for application at regional scales to assess baseline and future agroclimatic risks and opportunities in the context of other production influences. It builds upon the existing Land Suitability Rating System (LSRS) developed by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada. The goal of OCAAF is to inform policy, program and management choices of key stakeholders in Ontario’s agri-food sector so as to maintain or enhance agricultural productivity under a changing climate. It will help prepare us for the impacts of climate change and develop adaptation options. Ultimately, this will contribute to rural development and food security in Ontario.
Initial application of the OCAAF was used to assess forage-based beef production systems (specifically looking at timothy hay) in the Clay Belt for the years 2020-2050. The outputs from the assessment include data products and indexed scores for risk and opportunity pertaining to the production system, as well as adaptation options on how best to manage those opportunities and risks.
OCAAF results can be used by decision-makers in order to:
- Reduce Ontario production systems’ susceptibility to climate change-related hazards now and into the future;
- Realize the yield potential of Ontario production systems now and into the future;
- Equip producers for the adoption of novel crop species; and
- Encourage the expansion of warm climate crops to more northerly regions.
- Develop and pilot a regional framework to assess baseline and future agro-climatic risks and opportunities.
- Build an adaptable, transferable and expandable risk-opportunity assessment framework.
- Analyze decadal regional climate change risks and opportunities out to 2050.
- Apply the framework to:
- Forage-based beef production systems in Ontario's Clay Belt; and
- Corn production in southwestern Ontario.
- Develop a suite of 5-10 adaptation options for each region and production system.
- Develop thematic policy briefs.
Click here for OCCAF Project Information Sheet.