March 23, 2023 By Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Canadian farmers are on the front lines of climate change and are already taking action to improve resilience and enhance profitability while reducing emissions. The Government of Canada set a target to reduce fertilizer-related emissions, which led to consultations with the sector to gather feedback on how best to support farmers and producers through voluntary measures moving forward.
Over 2,000 submissions were received through the online consultation, technical workshops and town hall meetings between March and October 2022. Farmers, producers, industry associations, provinces and territories, scientists and environmental organizations provided their input. AAFC analyzed the feedback and compiled it to create the “What We Heard Report.” The feedback will inform AAFC’s work, in collaboration with the sector, to meet Canada’s fertilizer emissions reduction target of 30 per cent from 2020 levels by 2030.
“I want to thank everyone who participated in the consultation process,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, in a statement. “Your feedback will contribute to how we reach our ambitious target and ensure the sector’s success.”
A desire to increase communication and strengthen engagement between Government and the agricultural sector emerged through the consultation process. To this end, in partnership with industry, a Fertilizer Working Group is being formed under the Sustainable Agriculture Strategy Advisory Committee. As a co-chair of the committee, AAFC will collaborate with this group to reach its objectives, which are to:
- strengthen the ongoing dialogue between industry and government to share information, best practices and identify resources to reduce emissions from fertilizers;
- examine mechanisms that need further support, such as program funding and the adoption of beneficial management practices; and
- improve the measurement and tracking of fertilizer emissions reductions in the sector.
The feedback received through the consultations will allow the Government of Canada to ensure that its programs are designed to support the adoption of beneficial management practices, implement clean technologies, as well adapt its research and innovation programs so that they are suitable for real-world application.
“There is clearly a diversity of perspectives on many key issues, and we are pleased to see the report identify the importance of further producer engagement in advancing this voluntary approach,” said Keith Currie, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), in a statement. “At the same time, we are pleased to see the report highlight the key themes we continue to explore in the context of the Sustainable Agriculture Strategy such as the importance of data capturing regional variation and accurately depicting on-farm emissions, and the need for robust incentives to effectively support adoption of best practices.
“Most importantly, we are pleased to see the report factor in producer profitability, reflecting the need to consider emissions reduction strategies in the context of environmental, economic, and social sustainability.”
Canadian producers are experts at managing and protecting their land for future generations. AAFC looks forward to building on the good work already underway in the agriculture sector to support Canada’s environmental and economic goals while feeding a growing world population.
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