A coalition of farmers, scientists, economists and policy experts are calling for the federal government to put $300 million of its 2021 budget toward cutting agriculture greenhouse gas emissions.
“Most Canadians, and almost all supply chains, are asking for more sustainable food and farming,” said Ian McCreary in a news release. “But as a farmer, what is troubling, is that our emissions in Canadian agriculture are steadily increasing.”
McCreary farms in Saskatchewan, and is co-chair of a Farmers for Climate Solutions task force which recently put out a report proposing six programs which it says will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 million tonnes.
The $300-million price tag would pale in comparison to ongoing environmental damage, the group said.
“Other Canadian sectors are being well supported to reduce emissions and re-skill the labour force, but farmers are being left behind,” said Arzeena Hamir, co-chair of the task force and a farmer in B.C.
“Also, other countries are investing significantly more in farmers and ranchers to adopt climate-friendly practices,” she added.
The six recommended programs are:
- Reducing nitrogen fertilizer use through a 50 per cent cost-share program for farmers to access agronomists and work together to improve nitrogen management.
- Increasing cover crop use by supporting farmers to plant cover crops through a per-acre payment program.
- Supporting ranchers to implement rotational grazing through a cost-share program for planning and infrastructure.
- Protecting wetlands and trees on farms through a “reverse auction program, where eligible farmers submit competitive bids to implement permanent conservation agreements.” The program would compensate farmers for taking the land out of production.
- Transitioning on-farm energy to cleaner energy solutions through pilot programs similar to those in other sectors, such as government retrofit, clean energy infrastructure, and targeted tax incentive programs.
- Celebrating farmers who implement climate-friendly practices through an awards program and awareness campaigns.
Read the full report at farmersforclimatesolutions.ca.