Farmer-led campaign to inform, lobby for climate solutions

Farmers for Climate Solutions wants any conversation on climate change to include agriculture

A Manitoba farmer says a new agriculture-led campaign for climate solutions gives producers a chance to learn from each other while moving the needle on climate action.

“This gives a place, a location for those that have that mentality — I think the majority of farmers actually fit in that category — to make a statement, to show that support and to help further that conversation,” said Dean Harder, who farms near Lowe Farm.

Farmers for Climate Solutions launched on National Agriculture Day, Feb. 11. It is a campaign and website to ensure that conversations on climate change involve agriculture, led by a coalition of organizations like the National Farmers Union, Canadian Organic Growers, and Equiterre.

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The group says farmers are some of the first to feel the impacts of climate change, but also have many opportunities to contribute to reversing the trend, according to a Feb. 11 news release. However, farmers need programs and policies that support climate-friendly farming practices, the group said.

The group’s website asks farmers to share their stories, and for supporters to lend their names to help policy-makers make decisions.

On Harder’s grain and oilseed farm, they’re making small changes, like reducing how much fertilizer they broadcast on the field surface. By putting the fertilizer into the soil, they reduce waste, and also decrease the likelihood of fertilizer gassing off into the atmosphere.

They’re also tackling reducing their tillage, increasing soil organic content, and reducing inputs where they can.

But deciding what changes to make is difficult, said Harder, when good information is hard to find. He’s tried to gain as much knowledge as possible to ensure, “… that what we’re doing is not just changing chairs on the deck of the boat but actually steering it to a different direction.”

Lack of trustworthy data leads to inaction, said Harder.

“That’s quite dangerous,” he said.

“We need a place where we’re learning better from each other,” said Harder. “We can have ‘aha’ moments together.”

About the author

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Geralyn Wichers

Geralyn Wichers grew up on a hobby farm near Anola, Manitoba, where her family raised cattle, pigs and chickens. Geralyn graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in 2019 and was previously a reporter for The Carillon in Steinbach. Geralyn is also a published author of science fiction and fantasy novels.

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