Regional Climate and Production Systems
Historical climate and production capacity
This region consists of the Fraser Valley Regional District, which has a fairly mild climate with one of the longest frost-free periods in Canada. The region receives an average annual precipitation of close to 1,600 millimeters, with 75% of that falling between October and April. However, summers are typically dry, and irrigation is needed to maintain agricultural productivity. Most agricultural land in the region is found on the floodplain of the Lower Fraser River. Urban development has happened on or close to these prime agricultural lands. Soils within the region are some of the most fertile in Canada. Through much of the valley, soils have a range of characteristics and capability ratings. The majority of soil is class 3 or better and can be improved with proper drainage and/or irrigation. In 2016, about 71,700 hectares were included in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
In 2016, the Fraser Valley region had 2,576 farms – 15% of the farms in BC. Average farm size is 23 hectares, compared to the province-wide average of 132 hectares. The environment, soils and topography in the Fraser Valley allow the production of a diverse set of agricultural goods. The region is home to a high proportion of BC’s supply-managed operations: over 50% of dairy and almost 40% poultry and egg production. Mainly related to the dairy sector, the region also produces field crops for feed, including corn, alfalfa and other hay and fodder crops. The Fraser Valley Regional District produces the second-highest share of the province’s field vegetables, after the Metro Vancouver regional district.
Other production in the region includes:
- Berries, with a focus on blueberries
- Greenhouse and nursery
- Mushroom operations
- Mixed production and organic farms
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 Fraser Valley 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: