Tompkins Climate Change Talk Focused on Farmers, Water

Farmers in the Northeast can’t count on the consistent weather their grandparents and parents were assured...

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Dilmun Hill: Student-Run Organic Farm (University Photography)
Dilmun Hill: Student-Run Organic Farm
(University Photography)

By Andrew Casler, via the Ithaca Journal, 11/13/14

ITHACA - Farmers in the Northeast can’t count on the consistent weather their grandparents and parents were assured, according to Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture Director Alison Chatrchyan.

Chatrchyan is presenting during a Monday night talk that’s focused on climate change and its impacts on Tompkins County water and Northeastern farming. The event is 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Tompkins County Public Library, 101 E. Green St.

Chatrchyan will focus on agriculture, and Tompkins County Planning Department Senior Planner Scott Doyle is giving a presentation focused on water.

Doyle said he’ll be focusing on how Tompkins County is looking to adapt to climate change. “There’s a range of projects the county has been involved with, from ... vegetating stream buffers to larger-scale storm-water retention ponds,” he said.

Chatrchyan said the climate has already changed dramatically, and that’s going to continue. Late-season frost has harmed grape and apple crops, and New York extreme rainfall has increased, she said.

“When it rains it pours, and between those really hard rainfall events we get less rain,” Chatrchyan said. The hard rains can wash away farmer’s seeds, erode fields and disperse pollutants into streams.

Some states may become drought stricken, but there could be enough water in New York to maintain agriculture, she added.

“At least in the Northeast we are projected to have enough water, but we just need to do a better job of managing it,” Chatrchyan said.

Monday’s event is hosted by the Tompkins County League of Women Voters.

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