• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Holland Marsh – This ain’t your grandfather’s weather any more

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Sep 22nd, 2013
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From the Holland Marsh Growers Association September 19 2013
Welcome to the sixth of seven video clips that are being brought to you by the
Holland Marsh Growers’ Association (HMGA) – with our thanks.
Climate or, more correctly, climate change has been the subject of debate for decades
– moving from a cooling of the earth (1970s) to global warming (culminating in the
appearance of ex-presidential candidate Al Gore in “An Inconvenient Truth”) to the
announcement of a recent international report that indicates . . . well, no one is
rightly sure what it indicates any longer. What farmers know is this; the weather has
proven to be greatly unpredictable over the past few decades and the shift in
conditions in unlike anything they have seen. Extremes are now the new norm – and
this is being proven year in and year out. From a warm spell in 2012 that led to shorts
and t-shirts in Toronto in March (and the subsequent triple frost throughout a three
week period that led to the near eradication of Ontario apples), to a drought-like
summer in some places in 2013 in parts of Canada – while other sections (hello
Toronto) endured Hurricane Hazel like rains.
Despite Environment Canada’s soothing edicts to the contrary, receiving an average
monthly rainfall in three hours can no longer constitute “normal” conditions – and
farmers have been dealing with it the best they can. While the Holland Marsh is able
to absorb a punishing amount of conditions, farmers are learning to adapt to the
realities of these climatic changes, utilizing new technologies and research, to the old
stand-bys during droughts – irrigation. The advantage to the Holland Marsh and area
over other parts of the world is that there is a reason why this part of the province is
called Ontario’s Soup and Salad Bowl. More than 65,000 acres of surrounding lands
drain themselves into the Holland Marsh and its canal system – which leads to other
issues, as one can image. But the farmers of the Holland Marsh and area could no
more drain the canals than they could drain Lake Simcoe. It is a competitive
advantage in an era when areas such as Vancouver and parts of British Columbia set
new records for lack of rainfall for an entire month (July 2013) and states like
California and Texas experience drought-like conditions while others, like Colorado,
are enduring punishing flooding situations (again, right now in 2013). No one can be
sure what is just around the corner when it comes to weather, but farmers are
preparing for both the best and worst that Mother Nature can offer.
With that in mind, we kindly offer – Confronting Climate Change, a farmer’s
perspective and what is being done to help mitigate the impact of this situation,
including the proliferation of pests and diseases that come with increasingly extreme
conditions.
Confronting Climate Change

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