Canadian grain farmers lead the way on climate change

Canada’s political leaders should recognize the important role of grain farmers as stewards of the land.

OTTAWA (September 25, 2019) – With the federal election cycle in full swing, the Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) are urging our national parties and their leaders to recognize the important contributions that our members make to reducing their impact on the environment.

“Agriculture is part of the climate change solution,” said GGC Chair Jeff Nielsen from his farm in Olds, AB. “The land is our livelihood and, as stewards of the land, we are committed to using the best practices possible to protect the environment for all Canadians.”

As our members continue to lead the way, we ask that our next Prime Minister and their leadership team commit to creating conditions that ensure the sustainable success of the agricultural sector.

Among the regulations that need to be amended, GGC members ask that improvements are made to Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) to ensure that they assume science-based regulations responsive to the needs of the sector. GGC also requests that an increased mandate to encourage renewable fuel content from Canadian crops be issued as a way to create market diversification opportunities – while also realizing reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“We will continue to adopt more efficient methods to use less fuel and protect our valuable crops, however, our government must ensure that all regulations take into account the needs of running a modern grain farm,” said Nielsen.

The fact is that Canada’s grain farmers have adopted several methods to reduce their environmental footprint. These include a reduction in soil tillage in order to conserve moisture and the adoption of precision agriculture technology which maximizes efficiency and requires less fuel. In fact, fewer passes over farm fields has led to an annual reduction of over 170 million litres in on-farm fuel use.

4R nutrient stewardship practices also stand out as an example of an innovative technique widely used by GGC members. These practices have become the standard for proper nutrient management in Canada because of their steadfast principles to using the right fertilizer at the right rate – at the right time and in the right place.

In fact, these practices have been so successful that Canada’s canola growers have committed to utilizing 4R nutrient stewardship practices on 90 per cent of their total acres by 2025. Manitoba’s corn growers have also funded a 4R Fertilizer Managements Survey that engages their members on the current state of fertilizer management practices on Canadian grain corn farms. Other Canadian crops show similar levels of improvement through adherence to 4R and programs to support farmer adoption are being rolled out nationwide.

“Through environmental stewardship we have been successful in boosting Canada’s bottom line while respecting the land that supports us,” added Nielsen. “Initiatives like conservation-tillage and 4R stewardship are critical elements of modern agriculture because they balance the need to grow food more efficiently with the need to reduce GHG emissions.”

The important work in reducing GHG emissions has begun and GGC members are confident that they can make an even bigger difference with a willing partner.

Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman – Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726