GFO: Growing In A Changing Climate

By Maegan MacKimmie

Grain Farmers of Ontario was involved with a webinar entitled ‘Growing in a Changing Climate’ as part of the 2018 Ontario Envirothon organized by Forests Ontario. The theme for this year’s
program is climate change.

Envirothon gets students engaged with the outdoors through hands on workshops facilitated by sector-specific experts. For the past two years the program has also offered webinars to help
expand their ability to connect students with different professionals.

Grain Farmers of Ontario became involved with Envirothon in 2017 when the theme for the year was sustainable agriculture.

This year Dave McEachren, director for Grain Farmers of Ontario explained that the changes in climate from just 20 years ago have led to an earlier start to the planting season on his farm in Glencoe, which has allowed him to grow longer season maturities in corn and soybeans and achieve higher yields. He has also adopted best management practices which have economic
and agronomic benefits for his farm that also have the added benefit of helping to mitigate the impact of severe weather.

These include no-till which helps to retain moisture in a field during a drought and the use of cover crops which help retain the top layer of soil during intense rains or strong winds.

Through participation in the Envirothon program students are urged to consider their personal impacts on the environment and feel enabled to make informed, responsible decisions about reducing their impacts. Students are also challenged to develop their critical thinking, teamwork, problem solving, and public speaking skills.

This is a great opportunity for Grain Farmers of Ontario to speak with youth about agriculture, sustainability and possible job opportunities in the sector.