Grain Growers of Canada publishes policy recommendations for grain sector sustainability on the "Road to 2050"

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Grain Growers of Canada has published a set of policy recommendations for government to support Canada’s grain sector in its “Road to 2050” sustainability inititative.

The policy recommendations would see government partner with grain farmers to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, by increasing investment in public and private breeding research, expanding eligibility criteria and funding for current climate programs, and developing a data management strategy.

“Facing the urgent need to feed more people, tackle climate change, and keep grain farms profitable, Canadian grain growers are leading with innovative sustainable practices. These efforts not only reduce our carbon footprint but also play a crucial role in achieving Canada’s climate goals,” said Grain Growers chair and Alberta farmer Andre Harpe, as part of the April 9 announcement which coincided with the annual “Grain Week” advocacy effort taking place in Ottawa this week.

The organization, which represents 14 national, provincial, and regional farm organizations, says Canada’s grain sector has already achieved considerable strides by maintaining stable GHG emissions while increasing production over the past two decades. As a result, there’s been a 50 per cent reduction in GHG emissions intensity from 1997 to 2017, exceeding the 36 per cent reduction across the entire Canadian economy during the same period.

“For decades, grain farmers have been at the forefront of sustainability, making Canada a global leader in producing grain with the lowest emissions possible,” said Grain Growers 1st Vice Chair and Quebec farmer William van Tassel. “Yet boosting our competitiveness and commitment to emission reductions demands a significant increase in research and development investments. These investments are essential for overcoming current obstacles and leveraging future opportunities.”

The document released on Tuesday includes the following policy recommendations for government:

  • Position Canada as a global leader in agriculture investment and innovation
    • Expand public and private plant breeding research
    • Expand research on agronomic practices
    • Expand machinery research
    • Continued expansion of rural cellular networks and broadband
    • Foster a supportive legislative and regulatory framework
  • Constructively recognize, publicly support, and reward the advances of grain producers
    • Expand eligibility criteria and funding for current climate programs
    • Develop tax incentives to bridge financial gaps between old and new technologies
    • Re-investment in provincial agronomy extension services
    • Support crop commissions’ programming across Canada to facilitate knowledge transfer
  • Develop a comprehensive approach to data and metrics development and use
    • Development of a data management strategy

While the policy recommendations refer to reducing emissions, the document does not include the term “net-zero” — a notable change in language compared with the 2022 launch of the “Road to 2050” project, when it was specifically described as an initiative aimed at helping the Canadian government work toward its commitment of net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Grain farmers stand ready to partner with government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also increasing production to meet a growing global food demand,” noted Harpe. “It’s clear that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach across Canada, but by working together, we can ensure that the sector continues to be part of the solution.”

Related: Grain Growers of Canada launches “Road to 2050” net-zero initiative

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