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Canadian Fertilizer Emissions Proposal Will Lower Farmer Income

Canadian Fertilizer Emissions Proposal Will Lower Farmer Income

By Andrew Joseph,

Losing income—that’s the end result of a Government of Canada proposal to reduced farm-applied fertilizer emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030, according to a Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers (CAAR) news release dated September 30, 2021. 

A proposed 30 percent emission reduction target of on-farm fertilizer use from the Government of Canada, was put forth without first consulting the primary agriculture industry, processors and provincial stakeholders, said CAAR.

CAAR is the only Canadian national association dedicated to representing agri-retailers across Canada. Its members actively support Canadian farmers in the production of the highest-quality food possible by protecting food quality, protecting farm productivity, and maintaining long-term sustainability of the industry.

Citing the Meyers Norris Penny (MNP)’s The Fertilizer Canada report released September 27, 2021, CAAR noted that it indicates that cutting fertilizer applications to meet the Federal government fertilizer emissions targets could reduce farm income by $48 billion over the next eight years, which will negatively impact all involved in the agriculture industry. 

CAAR said that the Canadian government is referencing the principles set forth by the European Union Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F). This strategy has been criticized widely by the German agriculture industry, causing the agriculture organization Grain Club to commission a study of the F2F strategy by the University of Kiel, that provided a detailed examination of the negative economic and environmental impact of the strategy.

Canadian farmers—supported by agriculture retailers and agronomists—are leaders in the evolution of agricultural production, noted CAAR, adding that the agricultural industry drives Canada’s economy by providing a safe, sustainable and environmentally reliable supply of food, materials and employment for all regions of Canada.

CAAR pointed out that Canadian farmers “have and continue to embrace new production practices that improve soil health, safeguard water and the sequestering carbon. Adoption and expansion of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program furthers Canadian agriculture’s proactive approach by using best management practices to reduce farm-applied fertilizer emissions.”

CAAR called upon the Canadian government to acknowledge that it “must recognize that innovation is best driven by the farmers and organizations that support them.”

According to CAAR, this Canadian proposal “will lesson Canada’s ability to compete on the global market by increasing cost of production and reducing yield. This is counter to the ambitions of the 2017 Economic Growth for Canada agri-food sector to increase exports to $85 billion by 2025—a 32% increase from the $64 billion achieved in 2017.”

The Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers said that the MNP report “demonstrates the need to institute an open and transparent Federal government engagement with all agriculture stakeholders including provinces.”

CAAR summed up with a request for the federal government: “We respectfully request the Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister to engage with agricultural stakeholders at the first opportunity to develop science-backed solutions that will meet environmental targets—but avoid burdening Canadian farmers, the agriculture industry and the end consumer.”

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Updated: October 5, 2021

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