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Championing farmers and ranchers on the front lines of climate change

Wawanesa is investing $2 million annually to build more climate-resilient communities through our Wawanesa Climate Champions program. In this feature, we’re pleased to introduce one of our partners doing incredible work for farms and ranches across Canada: Farmers for Climate Solutions.  

Founded in 2020, Farmers for Climate Solutions is a farmer-led national coalition representing over 20,000 farmers and ranchers in Canada. Its mission is to advance policies and programs supporting the agricultural sector in the fight against climate change and making farms and ranches more climate resilient. 

Ask Jennifer Doelman about farming and she’ll tell you every year is a gamble. But she’s stacking the odds of a healthy harvest in her favour with high resilience, low emissions practices and a network of peers at the Farm Resilience Mentorship (FaRM) Program. The FaRM Program is an initiative of Farmers for Climate Solutions that sees agriculture as an important part of Canada’s effort to mitigate climate change, where Jennifer is a mentor.  

Jennifer Doelman with her husband and children on their family farm in Ontario. She is a farmer and mentor with Farmers for Climate Solutions’ Farm Resilience Mentorship Program.  

“As farmers, we recognize Mother Nature is always the boss, and there are things we can control and things we can’t,” says Jennifer. “We have a real vested interest. We literally take our life savings and spread it out over the ground and hope for the best every year.”  

Jennifer and her husband grow canola, soybeans, wheat, sunflowers, and forages to feed livestock on their farming operation in the upper Ottawa Valley. It’s challenging but rewarding work.    

“I've seen the Level 3 droughts, I've had my crops wither and die in my fields. Every day we’re figuring out a way to help these dynamic ecosystems move forward. We want to figure out how to mitigate it being dry or wet or cold or a new invasive species,” she says.   

Weathering challenges and climate change

“Farmers are very much exposed to the risks of climate change, which is why it’s imperative for farmers to become more resilient and adapt. We’re on the front lines when it comes to dealing with the impacts,” says Brent Preston, a vegetable farmer north-west of Toronto and President of Farmers for Climate Solutions.  

Brent Preston operates a regenerative farm, producing ready-to-eat cut salads and greenhouse cucumbers, northwest of Toronto.
He is also the President of Farmers for Climate Solutions.

Wawanesa supports Farmers for Climate Solutions, so farmers can support one another

A growing number of farmers and ranchers are turning to Farmers for Climate Solutions for information about low emissions, high resilience farming practices like cover crops, nitrogen management, and rotational grazing. Wawanesa supports its Farm Resilience Mentorship (FaRM) program that offers free peer mentoring, an online learning hub with resources and networking spaces, virtual and in-person farm and ranch tours, and discussion forums. By 2024, FaRM will have trained over 10,000 farmers and ranchers stewarding over 5 million acres across Canada.  

“Research shows us that farmers learn best from other farmers; they are their most trusted source of information,” says Brent. “Sometimes it can be intimidating to try something new that your neighbours aren’t trying that might be seen as a little bit out there or not the normal practice. The FaRM Program offers that community of support, so you know you’re not alone; you have other peers who are doing the same thing you’re doing.”  

Jennifer agrees and says having a community to turn to is important. “Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming, so this helps us break it down into bite size pieces of things we can do today and tomorrow on our farms.”  

Learn more about Farmers for Climate Solutions and their Farm Resilience Mentorship (FaRM) program for farmer-to-farmer resources:

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