Farmers and the agriculture industry are still waiting to hear about “What we heard” when it comes to the federal government’s fertilizer emissions reduction target.
This week, at the Future of Food event at Ottawa, Ont., Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau was quite positive about the timeline of a fertilizer tariff money announcement and the finalization and rollout of the Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Partnership.
But when it comes to an official date on when the industry might see the feedback collected through last year’s fertilizer emissions reduction consultation process, Bibeau is less definitive on when the public will have a chance to see what was shared.
“I think it’s coming pretty soon, I don’t have a date in mind,” says Bibeau in the audio below. “But the idea is really to work with the industry to see how we can achieve this target. Because as I said, again, we need to produce more, we need to to increase our yields. We need to be more resilient to extreme weather events. We need to reduce our emissions. So it’s a lot of things that we have to do together at the same time, and innovation is there to help us reach that. But all the good ideas of the people in the field are welcome. And that was why doing the consultation was so important.”
Though she did say she is “very close” to making an announcement on how an amount equivalent to the more than $33 million collected in ’22 as tariffs on fertilizer will be spent, Bibeau did not provide further details on what Ontario and eastern farmers might expect in the form of a program.
Several Ontario producer groups have renewed calls for the tariffs collected to be returned to farmers. The federal government has committed the tariff proceeds to the Ukraine government for repairing its power grid, but Bibeau and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland have said they plan to also spend the equivalent amount collected in fertilizer tariffs to offset the impact of the fertilizer tariffs, but that they will not offer direct refunds back to farmers.
OFA suggests options for spending fertilizer tariff funds
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