by Angela Lovell

Jan 8, 2014

Climate Change Affecting Agriculture Today.

I have recently seen a number of news stories that demonstrate the effect climate change is already having on agriculture.

We are used to news items that talk about droughts, floods, hail, heatwaves and other weather extremes that have devastating impacts upon crop production. But these stories were interesting because they demonstrated very clearly what effect weather can have on agriculture in some unexpected ways.

According to a story in the online Country Guide cattle futures prices reached new highs on the Chicago Mercentile Exchange thanks to freezing arctic air which has brought minus 50 temperatures to parts of the US and Canada, disrupted livestock production and prevented delivery of cattle to packing houses because of treacherous road conditions.
In the same edition of Country Guide another story discussed U.S grain futures which rose due to the risk of damage to dormant wheat crops in the US from the same cold snap and at the same time a heatwave in Argentina that's threatening the corn harvest there.

Meanwhile Reuters are predicting that farmers in Australia will have to slaughter huge numbers of cattle in the next few months as the hottest year since 1910 has left many producers seriously short on feed for their cattle.

Interestingly I have just spent the past few weeks interviewing farmers for a project that I am working on and in the course of these conversations I was reminded that weather extremes such as drought don't just mean things don't grow, but can also bring plagues of damaging insects such as grasshoppers who make short work of any crops that are left.

Too often we speak about climate change as if it's something we have to worry about in the future and probably need to start doing something to try and fix it "soon". But to go back to my opening statement, all of the above news and anecdotal stories from farmers clearly show that climate change is having an effect on our food production systems now.

That's a sobering though as we wonder about how we'll feed 9.7 billion people by 2050. 

©2014, Angela Lovell.

Dec 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Once A Fortnight

Dec 24, 2013

It's Cold Out - Feed Me Please

When it's minus 39 out the birds use a LOT of energy, which is probably why we've had to fill the bird feeder at least twice a day now for several days. We have flocks of them waiting their turn in the lilac bushes surrounding the feeder. They squabble and peck each other on the head when they figure it's their turn at the chow. Yesterday they were engaged in a mass huddle along the south-facing foundation of the house trying to warm themselves a little - others were perched on the car tyres - anywhere they could elicit a little heat. Delightful to watch them but it's times like these I am very glad not to have been born a bird.

Jul 15, 2013

Van Gogh versus Rembrandt

Google is making much of Rembrandt's 407th birthday and agreed he was a great Master BUT I have always preferred Vincent Van Gogh. Both suffered financial hardships during their lifetimes ( all we artists do) but  I love Van Gogh for the sunshine in his paintings, they adorn my walls and Rembrandt's rather gloomy portraits of people I have no interest in do not.


The picture that inspires me daily as I write
The famous sunflowers that warm my heart every day

Where I would love to share a glass of wine with the "master"

The family favourite that just seems to say how Vincent saw the world outside his window

Apr 13, 2013

Plant Milkweed Save Monarch Butterflies

I for one intend to plant milkweed in my garden having read this article at the CBC about how herbicides like glyphosate (Roundup) are endangering the Monarch butterfly migration.

Monarch butterflies migrate to Canada to complete their life cycles. they lay their eggs only on milkweed plants, which are disappearing at an alarming rate in the wild.

Our beautiful provincial parks in southern Manitoba have an abundance of milkweed and it's a really good example of why Interpretive programs in Manitoba's provincial parks should not be cut. People need to be educated about these kinds of things and make that connection between that patch of weeds they may want to spray along the field edge and how that can impact a delicate species like Monarch butterflies. Interpreters have the opportunity to tell wonderful stories such as the Monarch migration and to show people what milkweed looks like and why it's important to these beautiful insects.

How can people be expected to value and cherish nature if they are not given the opportunity to learn about it.

Please share the CBC story with as many people as you can AND sign this petition to urge the Manitoba Government not to cut Personal Interpretation in Manitoba's Provincial parks.

©2013,Angela Lovell.

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