BOISE -- Fred Schreffler and his two-year-old son Moses are inspecting a crop of spring cucumbers on The Berry Ranch in rural Nampa. The facility is a large-scale family farm, offering a variety of local produce for sale, along with lamb and beef.
We're standing in our early planted cucumbers, Schreffler says while surveying a windswept field dotted with small plastic shelters to shield the plants from cold. We've got zucchini behind us, zucchini summer squash, and we do strawberries, blackberries, raspberries.
Schreffler knows the future of this rural farm is linked to Idaho's climate, a climate that many scientists say is undoubtedly changing.
University of Idaho Professor Sanford Eigenbrode is one of them. Eigenbrode directs a program that explores climate change in agriculture in the Pacific Northwest. He also worked alongside 300 scientific writers to help author the latest White House Climate Assessment released on Tuesday.
The assessment was clear in its assertion that climate change is already happening throughout much of the United States.
Eigenbrode says Idaho is now experiencing longer, hotter summers with slightly less rainfall, but more rain and snow during other months.
There's already been changes in air temperature and precipitation that have affected hydrology and water resources in the region, Eigenbrode told KTVB. But we expect seasonality to shift.
He says that means earlier snowmelts, a greater chance for flooding, and changes to how much water dams and irrigation systems use. It also means more wildfires, and other changes to the land like an increase in agricultural pests, less water for crops, and temperatures that could potentially limit plant growth.
Fred Schreffler says planning for climate change on his farm seems like the right thing to do for future generations, including his son, Moses.
But he says it's knowing how to plan for these changes that's the problem.
We can make some long range plans, and some options of what we can do with more water or less water, but you really can't start implementing that plan at this point because you don't know which way it's going to go.
There is a possible upside for growers like Fred Schreffler. Higher temperatures and longer summers could mean longer growing seasons, according to Eigenbrode.