California Department of Food and Agriculture

Office of Environmental Farming & Innovation

Climate Change Adaptation Consortium for Specialty Crops

California's specialty crops account for more than half of the nation's fruits, vegetables, and nuts as well as nearly $7 billion dollars of exports worldwide. California's production of diverse specialty crops is threatened by potential climate-related events, including reduced water supplies, increased plant heat stress, decreased chill hours, shifts in pollinator lifecycles and increased influx of invasive species. Ensuring agricultural adaptation to climate change events will require a concerted effort and is an objective of California Agricultural Vision: Strategies for Sustainability.

Climate change and its impacts are frequently discussed in the agricultural community, but there is a need for a strategic evaluation of the potential impacts as well as a compilation of practical solutions. To address this need, in August of 2012, CDFA Secretary Karen Ross announced the establishment of a consortium of growers, educators, and technical experts in California to study and make recommendations on strategies for climate change adaptation.

The consortium consists of:

  • Four members from different agricultural associations and commodity groups in California
  • One grower of each of the following specialty food crops; grapes, strawberries, almonds, tomatoes, walnuts, lettuce, citrus, pistachios, broccoli, and tree fruits.
  • One scientist from the University of California system
  • One extension specialist from the University of California Cooperative Agriculture
  • Two scientists from the California State University system
  • One member that is a licensed Pest Control Adviser/Crop Control Adviser
  • One member that is an Agricultural Commissioner
  • One member from the California Resource Conservation Districts

At each session, the consortium members will hear about recent scientific findings, consider information shared by stakeholders, and compile specific practical solutions for the adaptation of California's specialty crops to climate change. Recommendations made by the consortium will be made available to the secretary of CDFA and distributed to stakeholders with the goal of helping growers adapt to climate change impacts. The strategies prepared by the consortium will be posted here in fall of 2013.

For more information about CDFA's climate change adaptation consortium for specialty crops contact Carolyn Cook, Environmental Scientist and CDFA Liaison to the Climate Change Consortium (