2019 BC Agricultural Climate Adaptation Research Workshop

2019 BC Agricultural Climate Adaptation Research Workshop

Kelowna, BC
2nd December 2019

The 4th annual provincial workshop hosted by the BC Agricultural Climate Adaptation Research Network will be held in Kelowna, BC on December 2 – 3, 2019. This is ACARN’s biggest annual event and our chance to bring people together from across the province who are working on climate adaptation in the BC agriculture sector.

Join us for:

  • An afternoon of producer-focused sessions with BC researchers and producers discussing practices they have been testing in the field to improve soil health, store carbon, reduce the impacts of pests and disease, and adapt to increasingly variable weather. Sessions are geared to tree fruit and wine grape production.

  • Featured keynote speakers bringing expertise from the Washington state tree fruit industry (Dr. Lee Kalcsits) and the California wine industry (Dr. Ann Thrupp) into BC conversations on agricultural adaptation research and strategies

  • A banquet dinner following the keynote presentations to provide more time for networking & getting to know all of the great people interested in agricultural adaptation

  • A full day focused on collaboration to increase collaboration and connections between researchers and research partners

Detailed schedule & speaker bios below


Registration Details

Producer registration - Complementary
Student registration - $50 (scholarships available)
General registration - $100
Banquet dinner (Dec. 2) - $35

All registrants are welcome to attend one or both days

Register now

Student poster session - Call for abstracts

December 2nd will include a student poster session showcasing research on topics related to agriculture adaptation in BC.  Share your findings with producers, policymakers and fellow researchers.

Submit an abstract by November 15th


December 2, 2019

Participate in an afternoon of sessions focusing on research for adapting to climate change in the Okanagan’s wine grape and tree fruit sectors. 

Hear from researchers and producers about practices being tested, demonstrated and applied for adapting to changes including hotter and drier summers, increasing pest pressure and increasingly variable growing conditions.

Afternoon sessions will be followed by a refreshment break and presentations by our featured speakers.


- Dr. Lee Kalcsits, tree fruit physiology specialist, Washington State University

- Dr. Ann Thrupp, wine grape sustainability consultant and former manager at Fetzer, Bonterra Vineyards and the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance


December 3, 2019

Join working sessions to advance collaborative research and extension strategies for agricultural adaptation in BC:

- Develop and advance province-wide collaborative research projects
- Discuss the applications of data-sharing infrastructure developed by ACARN
- Share strategies to improve agriculture extension
- Participate in networking opportunities  


Four Points by Sheraton Kelowna Airport
5505 Airport Way, Kelowna, BC, V1V 3C3

Workshop attendees requiring accommodation can book rooms at the Four Points using the UBCO Faculty rate (applies to university faculty from other institutions) or UBCO family & friends rate. To book with a government rate book by phone or online and choose the government rate in the discount drop down.

A block of rooms has not been reserved, so we encourage you to book your room now.

Book accommodation


For those travelling to the workshop from the Lower Mainland you may want to consider carpooling or the bus service option below.

Ebus schedule & tickets

Workshop Schedule

December 2, 2019

11 am – 12:30 pm
Focus group discussion: Barriers to Climate Change Adaptation in the Okanagan Agriculture Sector
(lunch provided, no cost for registration, open to producers only) Read more about the project

1 pm – 4 pm
Applied research for wine grape and tree fruit growers
Concurrent sessions (2 rooms with tree fruit and wine grape streams)


  • Changing climate, shifting cropsfuture crop suitability modelling to inform future crop choices (K. Hannam, AAFC)
  • Importance of crop drive-rows in soil carbon storage in woody perennial crops; a regional study along the Okanagan Valley (A. Midwood, UBCO)
  • Use of technology and data for adaptation in the tree fruit sector
    • How ready are we for innovative agricultural practices and to adapt to climate challenges?(S. Lembke & L. Cartier, OC)
    • Discussion: How can we leap-frog the big data revolution in agriculture for BC tree fruits?  (S. Lembke, OC)
  • Managing fire blight and scab with the BC Decision Aid System for Integrated Pest Management
    (Molly Thurston, Claremont Ranch Organics)
  • Postharvest deficit irrigation for improved resilience of cherry to climate change (L. Nelson, UBCO & co-presenters)
  • Resources for Okanagan growers for water supply information, wildfire & invasive species
    (K. Garcia, OBWB & H. Bjarnason, CAI)


  • Building resilient vineyards through cultivar diversity (E. Wolkovich, UBC)
  • Managing emerging diseases in an emerging grape-growing region (J.R. Úrbez Torres, AAFC)
  • The effect of deficit irrigation on fruit physiology in wine grape production (S. Castellerin, UBC)
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of agrothermal heat treatment to increase yield and reduce disease in wine grapes (C. Douglas, Quails’ Gate)
  • Organic amendments and cover crops can enhance yield stability and agricultural resilience in Canadian vineyards (M. Sharifi, AAFC Summerland Research & Development Centre)
  • Resources for Okanagan growers for water supply information, wildfire & invasive species
    (K. Garcia, OBWB & H. Bjarnason, CAI)

4 pm – 5 pm
Research poster presentations & refreshment break

5 pm – 6 pm

Welcome & keynote presentations

Increasing Agriculture Resiliency in Response to a Changing Climate

Developing Resilient Orchards, Dr. Lee Kalcsits, tree fruit physiology specialist, Washington State University’s Tree Fruit Research & Extension Centre in Wenatchee, WA

Approaches from California’s Wine Grape Sector, Dr. Ann Thrupp, wine grape sustainability consultant and former manager at Fetzer, Bonterra Vineyards and the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance

6 pm – 9 pm 

Banquet dinner

December 3, 2019

7 am – 8:30 am


8:30 – 8:45 am

Opening & welcome

8:45 – 10:15 am

Session 1: Agricultural extension – better utilizing existing resources & networks


  • Identify existing resources and networks for agriculture extension and knowledge exchange
  • Identify researcher needs for support in sharing research results and collaborating with producers
  • Identify opportunities for the ACARN network to support better communication/collaboration between researchers and extension initiatives 

Framing presentations 

  • Overview of the landscape of extension resources in BC
  • Ministry of Agriculture agrologist network system & industry specialists (Jason Lussier, Ministry of Agriculture)
  • Introduction to break out group topics

Break out sessions

  • Reviewing the landscape of existing extension initiatives
  • Learning from what works – identifying successful extension models
  • Researcher perspectives on extensions needs – mapping current extension deliverables 
  • We wish ACARN could…? Idea generation for how ACARN can support extension collaboration
  • Open tables 

10:15 – 10:30 am

Coffee break

10:30 – 12:15 pm

Session 2: Improving data sharing and data access


  • Understand current state of work on agricultural data
  • Identify activities that ACARN (through projects or working groups) can support to increase data sharing between BC researchers
  • Identify opportunities for collaboration across institutions that can increase access to and consistency of data 

Framing presentations

  • The value of collaboration & ACARN’s data sharing infrastructure (Sean Smukler, UBC)
  • Cross-agency collaboration through the Climate Related Monitoring Program (Ted Weick, Ministry of Environment)  
  • Agricultural Weather Station Gap Analysis & PCIC climate mapping (Faron Anslow, Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium)
  • The data gaps that exist from the producer perspective (Emily MacNair, Climate Action Initiative)

Break out sessions
Strategies to improve data sharing and data access

  • Agricultural weather data sharing 
  • Soils data sharing 
  • Forage data sharing  
  • Pest data sharing 
  • Remote monitoring possibilities
  • Open tables 

12:15 – 1:15 pm


1:15 – 3:15 pm

Session 3: Integrating across data sets & disciplines to better guide agricultural adaptation


  • Discuss tools that can be developed by integrating different types of basic data
  • Discuss how cross-cutting issues can be integrated into research across disciplines
  • Provide space for generating ideas and priorities for collaborative research 

Framing presentations

  • The Northwest ClimateToolbox – climate data downscaling & web tool development to make climate data more accessible (Katherine Hegewisch, U. of Idaho)
  • The BC Decision Aid System for Integrated Pest Management (Molly Thurston,  Claremont Ranch Organics)
  • Water research priorities to support agricultural adaptation to climate change (Natalya Melnychuk, Ministry of Agriculture)
  • Economic and political barriers to adaptation from on-farm decisions to policy (John Janmaat, UBCO)

Break out sessions
Focused discussion on collaborative research, future tools & directions 

  • Future crop suitability modelling in BC 
  • Integrating new data sets into agricultural land use decision making 
  • Water research priorities for agricultural adaptation 
  • Economic and political barriers to adaptation 
  • Open tables

3:15 – 3:30 pm

Wrap up & closing

Our Speakers

(More Coming Soon)

Dr. Lee Kalcsits, Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center
Dr. Lee Kalcsits is an assistant professor of tree fruit physiology in the Department of Horticulture at the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee, Washington, USA. He completed a BSA in Horticulture and a MS in tree physiology at the University of Saskatchewan and a PhD in Forestry and Tree Physiology at UBC. He has been at WSU since 2014. His research works towards understanding the interactions between environment, horticultural management and genetics of tree fruit. Specifically, his work is focused understanding heat and water relations in apple and developing strategies to mitigate those problems.

Dr. Ann Thrupp, Down to Earth Innovations
Ann Thrupp has extensive experience as a pioneer and leader in sustainable and regenerative food systems. From 2003-2013, Ann was the Manager of Sustainability and Organic Management at Fetzer and Bonterra Vineyards, where she coordinated and led a diversity of initiatives to implement sustainable practices in the winery and vineyards, and developed partnerships and outreach to stakeholders about sustainable business practices. At Fetzer she also provided education and technical assistance to growers, and assisted hundreds of growers and wineries in the transition to organic and sustainable practices. Ann also served as the Managing Director and consultant for the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) in 2005-2007.

Dr. Lee Cartier, Okanagan College
Lee Cartier is a Professor Emeritus at the Okanagan School of Business at the Okanagan College in BC, Canada. His research interests are in the areas of rural entrepreneurship and industry competitiveness.

Chad Douglas, Quails’ Gate Estate Winery
Chad Douglas, Viticulturist at Quails’ Gate Estate Winery, holds a Masters’ of Science degree in Geography from the University of Otago, New Zealand. He has been managing vineyards for the past 15 years in New Zealand, Oregon and now in the Okanagan Valley. Sustainability and innovative vineyard practices have always been central to his management philosophy.

Dr. Tom Forge, AAFC SuRDC
Tom is a research nematologist at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Summerland Research and Development Centre. Tom’s educational background and experience includes a B.Sc. in Biology from Kansas State University, Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and post-doctoral research in Scotland, the Pacific Forestry Centre in Victoria, and Oregon State University. Since joining AAFC in 2001, Tom’s research has ranged from addressing the effects of organic waste-based soil amendments on soil ecology and nutrient dynamics, to integrated root-health management for perennial fruit crops, and the ecology and management of plant-parasitic nematodes. Tom is also Test Site Manager for the Minor Use Pesticides Program at the Summerland Research and Development Centre.

Kellie Garcia, Okanagan Basin Water Board
Ms. Garcia is the Policy Planning Specialist at the Okanagan Basin Water Board, with 15 years of experience in project management, environmental planning, and extension and communication. She is a Professional Agrologist and was manager of the BC Wine Grape Council’s Sustainable Winegrowing British Columbia program for more than a decade. Her current work at the OBWB focuses on advancing drought and flood planning in the Okanagan by promoting best practices, leading technical studies, and improving communication and collaboration. In her spare time, Kellie enjoys hiking, camping, biking, drinking wine and eating local food.

Dr. Kirsten Hanaam, AAFC SuRDC
Kirsten is an agro-ecologist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Summerland Research and Development Centre. She studies water, carbon and nutrient dynamics within agro-ecosystems at a range of spatial scales.

Dr. Svan Lembke, Okanagan College
Svan Lembke holds a PhD from the University of Auckland, NZ, and is a professor at the Okanagan School of Business at the Okanagan College in BC, Canada. Her research focuses on technology innovation and business strategy.

Dr. Andrew Midwood, UBC
Andrew Midwood is a research associate at UBC, and has a background in studying soil C cycling in both managed and natural ecosystems. He is currently working on a 5 year federally funded ‘Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Project’ aimed at studying the effects of irrigation on the soils of the Okanagan Valley. He has expertise in the analysis and use of stable isotopes and was originally based in the UK before moving to Canada a few years ago. Andrew has over 20 years of research experience and has collaborated with colleagues from a number of countries including the US, New Zealand, Australia and across Europe.

Dr. Louise Nelson, UBC Okanagan
Dr. Louise Nelson is an Honorary Professor in the Department of Biology, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus. She is a soil microbiologist with more than 30 years experience working in the agricultural sector in Saskatchewan and British Columbia. Her research has focused on plant-microbe interactions, plant growth promoting rhizobacteria, biological control of plant fungal pathogens and nitrogen cycling in agricultural soils. She recently led a FAIP study to identify sustainable orchard floor management practices and water delivery systems to optimize water use efficiency and soil health in cherry production as it expands northward in the Okanagan with climate change.

Dr. Mehdi Sharifi, AAFC SuRDC
Dr. Mehdi Sharifi is a research scientist at Summerland Research and Development Centre, BC since 2016. Most recently, for 5 years Dr. Sharifi was Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Agriculture and an Assistant Professor at Trent University’s School of Environment. From 2010 to 2012, he served as the Nutrient Management Research Chair and Assistant Professor at the Environmental Sciences Department of the Faculty of Agriculture at Dalhousie University (formerly the Nova Scotia Agricultural College). Prior to that he did a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada in Truro, NS, (2008-2010) and a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at AAFC’s Fredericton Research and Development Centre, NB, (2005-2008). Dr. Sharifi’s research activities are focused on sustainable nutrient management for perennial horticultural crops including grapes, apples and cherries. His interests extend to the use and management of cover crops, and soil amendments in horticultural crops.

Dr. Jos̩e Ramon Urbez-Torres, AAFC SuRDC
Dr. Jos̩e Ramon Urbez-Torres is the plant pathologist at Summerland Research & Development Centre.

Dr. Elizabeth Wolkovich, UBC
Elizabeth Wolkovich is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, where she holds the Canada Research Chair in Temporal Ecology. Her research focuses on how phenology shapes plants and plant communities in forest and crop systems. She is particularly interested in how climate change will affect different winegrape varieties, and how shifting varieties may help growers adapt to warming. Winegrape projects in her lab draw on collaborations and data from France, Switzerland, New Zealand, California and British Columbia.

From Media