Several more consultation sessions for farmers have been announced following strong interest in the proposed Responsible Grain voluntary code of practice over the last several weeks.

The draft code includes a list of required and recommended practices for grain farmers across Canada who choose to participate in the initiative. The committee that developed the code was chaired by former Conservative MP Ted Menzies and consists of a mix of grain value chain stakeholders, including farm group representatives, grain companies, food companies, researchers, and a non-government organization.

The committee developed the draft code as a tool for documenting practices on Canadian grain farms with the goal of building trust among consumers and export customers, however a significant number of farmers have voiced concerns about the requirements and recommendations listed in the document.

As of January 11, Responsible Grain says 487 people have signed up to participate in the consultation process, with over 90 per cent of these being farmers, most of whom are from Western Canada.

Twenty-one consultation sessions had either been held or planned — 19 in English and two in French. Due to strong demand, three additional sessions for farmers were added to the consultation schedule on Monday — they will be held January 27, 28, and 29.

Farmers who participate in any of the online consultation sessions are invited to follow-up by providing specific feedback for each required or recommended practice via an online workspace.

The practices fall into seven categories: nutrient management, pest and pesticide management, soil management, water management, seed selection and use, land use and wildlife, and human health and wellness. To date, the nutrient management, water management, pest and pesticide management, land use and wildlife modules have received the most comments.

The committee still says it expects the final version will be ready by the spring of 2021.

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