Wheat or corn growers can decide from year to year whether to plant a little late or plant a little early or plant a different variety. But fruit growers can be locked in for decades once they’ve made a decision.
And in what seems to be a time of weather extremes – ranging from long-term droughts to “500-year floods” in back-to-back years – planning can be even more difficult.
A new ATTRA publication, “Climate Change and Perennial Fruit and Nut Production: Investing in Resilience in Uncertain Times,” can help farmers develop strategies for building resilience into their operations.
Because of its long-lived nature, including two, three, or more years of plant growth before bearing a crop, perennial fruit and nut production requires a long-term commitment from farmers. Many fruit and nut crops do not provide a return on investment until several years after planting.
So if bloom times, frost dates, chilling hours, plant stress, disease incidence, and insect pressure become less predictable, growers of perennial fruit and nut crops will find it increasingly difficult to stay in business.
“Climate Change and Perennial Fruit and Nut Production: Investing in Resilience in Uncertain Times” explores the challenges to perennial fruit and nut production and discusses steps growers can take to build resilience into their farming operations through diversification, water stewardship, and soil building, as well as technology, information, and policy.
The publication, and ATTRA’s other resources, are available on the ATTRA website at www.attra.ncat.org.
ATTRA—National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service—was developed and is maintained through a cooperative agreement with the USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service by the National Center for Appropriate Technology, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Butte, Montana.
ATTRA has been the nation’s leading resource for information on sustainable agriculture since 1987, covering a wide range of topics, including reducing pesticide use on cropland, promoting food safety in sustainable production systems, reducing farm energy use and costs, enriching soils with the use of cover crops, and providing technical assistance in the growing areas of local farmers markets and urban gardening.
In addition to hundreds of sustainable-agriculture publications, ATTRA’s other popular offerings include a free sustainable-agriculture telephone helpline and the “Ask an Ag Expert” feature on the home page. It has an archive of webinars and videos generated by NCAT and partnering organizations.
ATTRA also maintains numerous popular databases, including sustainable-agriculture internships and apprenticeships, and is a source for the day’s agriculture news, among other features.