There’s an old joke that Canada has two seasons: winter and the fifth of August. But while winters in the Great White North may be long and cold, we definitely have a summer, too. And the unofficial kickoff is Victoria Day on May 24th, often known as May two-four because it’s the biggest beer-drinking weekend of the year (if you’re not familiar with Canadian lingo, a 24-can case of beer is known as a “two-four”). It’s a time when the weather is usually warm enough to go outside and celebrate with friends and family, but it’s also a time to remember that this begins the busiest part of the year for Canada’s farmers.
Because of Canada’s northern location, the growing season is quite short compared to many other countries. That’s one of the main reasons why the wine industry in this country focuses on varieties that can grow in only a few months of warm weather, rather than six or even eight months that is common for grapes in Mediterranean climates. The prairie provinces are also ideal for crops such as wheat and canola, which can be successfully grown and harvested during a relatively short season.
Even though most people think of Canada as a cold country, the weather in the summer can actually get very warm. Heat waves are not uncommon, and they can have devastating effects for farmers. Even a single day of temperatures above 33 degrees Celsius (about 90 Fahrenheit) can cause significant losses. And as global climate gets warmer and more unpredictable, these kinds of anomalies are becoming more and more frequent. Those losses are bad for everyone because it directly affects our food supply.
In fact, there are few industries as vulnerable to temperature as agriculture. There are literally no ways to protect a large farm from a heat wave, and even irrigation and shade structures to keep plants healthy aren’t enough to prevent catastrophic damage.
Mitigating the risk of summer heat spikes is a major reason why we founded Farmers Edge in the first place. Over the years we have added a number of valuable solutions to help farmers protect their yields and maximize their revenues. One of the biggest is our new coverage product for canola, backed by Munich Re, which gives farmers an automatic payout if temperatures hit a certain threshold.
We have also been at the forefront of helping farmers benefit from carbon offsets using advanced technologies to lower carbon output, track these reductions, and generate carbon offsets for our growers. Not only is this an additional source of income for farmers, but it is helping reduce greenhouse gases that are causing the earth’s temperature to rise. It truly is a win-win for everyone, where farmers can protect their livelihoods while actually helping reduce global warming.
For more information on what we are doing, please visit www.farmersedge.ca. And as you’re raising a glass this weekend, be sure to thank the farmers who grew the wheat, barley, and hops that make it possible for you to enjoy your two-four.