Regional Climate and Production Systems
Historical Climate and Production Capacity
This region includes the Cariboo Regional District, much of which is high, rolling plateau with mountain ranges on its east and west boundaries. Due to the size and diverse topography of the region, it has many microclimates. The climate is generally warm and dry in the summer. Winters are cold, with low to moderate precipitation, ranging from 250-630 millimeters annually. Both soils and a lack of moisture are limiting factors for agriculture in much of the region. Areas with better river bench soils can produce high quality forage, as well as root vegetables and potatoes. Some valley soils have high clay content but, with careful management, can produce a range of forage and field crops. Most agricultural land is located along Highway 97, following the Fraser River, and along Highway 20 East, following the Chilcotin River, to Alexis Creek. In 2017, about 936,000 hectares were included in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
In 2016, the Cariboo region had 919 farms – 5% of the farms in BC. Farms range in size from a few acres to more than 3,000 acres. Beef cattle operations make up about one-quarter of the agricultural sector in the region. Forage crops make up almost all of the total cropped area. Crown range provides about 40% of the annual forage needs of the ranching industry. Livestock production in the region includes dairy, sheep, horses and poultry. A diversity of horticultural crops, including berries and vegetables, are also grown in the region.
Top Issues in the Cariboo
Projections provided by the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium were shared during the regional planning process where producers discussed how the anticipated changes would likely affect their operations. Then they identified four climate issues as their top concerns. Many of these projects are a direct response to the adaptation strategies and top issues outlined in the Cariboo Adaptation Strategies plan. The projects are developed by CCAP with oversight and input from a regional working group. Other projects deliver applied research that supports climate change adaptation at the farm level. These 2-4 year projects fall under the Farm Adaptation Innovator Program.
Learn more about climate change adaptation in each region: