A quest for sustainable management practices


Wood-Bohm and Associates offer strategic consulting services to industry and government in the areas of science based innovations.

Dr. Susan Wood-Bohm, recently named Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) fellow, joined Shaun Haney on RealAg Radio to talk about the projects involving greenhouse gas emissions she will be doing at CAPI.

“We live in an era where technology seems to be the answer to all questions,” says Wood-Bohm. “Governments often need a little advice on what a good technology is, what are technologies that make financial sense, and societal sense.”

Wood-Bohm’s research at CAPI will focus on sustainability in agriculture, which ties into the climate change file, in a series of projects.

Specifically, she’ll be researching management practices that can be used to address reducing greenhouse gas emissions. She will also be looking at what incentivizes farmers to implement those changes, and decrease financial risks, given the scant profit margin that already exists. Finally, she’ll look at how the outcomes of those management practices affect trade in the agri-food sector.

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Defining the word sustainability can be vague sometimes, but Wood-Bohm says that they abide by a definition that includes the physical, societal, and economic aspects which also takes into account whether the next generation can carry those farming practices on.

In terms of how emissions are measured, Wood-Bohm says the science isn’t set yet.

“We haven’t always measured things and in some cases it’s a fairly new science, and we’re still learning about,” says Wood-Bohm, adding that science is always a moving target, and whenever something is improved upon, the outcome can change. The adage “if we can’t measure it, we can’t manage it” rings true for her.

As for COP26, Wood-Bohm thinks that this type of gathering often invokes reflecting on global policy, to address greenhouse gas emissions. She thinks that agriculture can play a huge role to get emissions down, but also has an opportunity to act as a carbon sink.

“There’s many layers of government and decision-making before recommendations come down at the farm level,” she says.

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