Keep Alberta's own science findings in mind on cattle emissions and feed additives, Premier Smith

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Opinion

In a week where the federal government rolled out a draft of its protocol for carbon offsets from reducing methane emissions, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith jabbed back relatively hard on the subject and the proposal.

Environment and Climate Change Canada says the protocol for Reducing Enteric Methane Emissions from Beef Cattle (REME protocol) is intended to “incentivize farmers to implement changes that would reduce enteric methane emissions from their beef cattle operations with an opportunity to generate offset credits that they can sell.”

Premier Smith was having none of it, but specifically pointed out the use of feed additives to reduce methane emissions, calling them “chemical additives” and referring to is as “a new low for eco extremists.”

This caught the attention of our team because not only do farm groups largely support the registration of feed additives as a strategy to reduce emissions, but the Alberta government supports the research through RDAR and other organizations.

RealAgriculture reached out to Alberta’s Agriculture Minister RJ Sigurdson for comment, but did not receive a response.

The tweet by the premier seems to run counter to the general sentiment of the cattle industry, and RealAgriculture was informed that multiple industry organizations were in touch with Premier Smith’s office the morning after the tweet.

This week, Lyndsey Smith interviewed world-renowned rumen researcher, Dr. Tim McAllister, of AAFC Lethbridge, about ways to reduce methane, including using feed additives. Current feed additives and those up for approval are highly anticipated by the sector.

Liberal MP and chair of the House Agricultural committee, Kody Blois, has also initiated a private member’s bill that has received bipartisan and cattle industry support. Bill C-359 — An Act to amend the Feeds Act, the Seeds Act and the Pest Control Products Act — proposes a 90-day provisional registration for new products where the company introducing a product can show its been approved by regulators in two or more other “trusted” countries or jurisdictions. Feed additives could fit in this category, for sure, and have been cited as an example.

The bottom line is that the premier’s tweet is more in line with fear-mongering over “chemicals” than truly critiquing the protocol. Perhaps the premier, or her staff, need to pay closer attention to the good work being done by their own province.

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