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Fertilizer emission reductions must remain voluntary in Canada

Fertilizer emission reductions must remain voluntary in Canada

The Federal government’s plan to cut fertilizer emissions by 30 percent by 2030 must remain voluntary for Canadian agri-businesses, state the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

By Andrew Joseph,; Photo by James Baltz on Unsplash

Don’t mandate our agri-businesses to reduce their nitrogen fertilizer usage in the future.

That’s the message from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and its respondents to a recent survey, where 72 percent of farmers said the yield of their crops and overall food production will be reduced if the federal government required them to reduce their use of nitrogen fertilizer.

The Canadian federal government is currently in consultation on its plan—a global initiative—to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from nitrogen fertilizer by 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030.

The CFIB is urging the government not to mandate a reduction in the use of nitrogen fertilizer.

“Right now, the emissions reduction target is voluntary, and it should stay that way,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President of National Affairs at the CFIB. “Requiring Canadian agri-businesses to reduce their use of nitrogen fertilizer would add another hurdle and have negative impacts on the industry that is already hard hit by skyrocketing input costs and supply chain delays.”

The association’s latest Business Barometer data shows the agriculture sector has the lowest short-term (three months) and long-term (12 months) outlook of any industry across Canada.

The CFIB survey showed that 60 percent of businesses agree that a mandatory reduction would decrease the profitability of their agri-business, and 42 percent said it would be challenging as they have already reduced their nitrogen fertilizer use.

CFIB’s recent research also shows Canadian farmers have already adopted or plan to adopt best practices to manage or reduce nitrogen emissions. Some of these practices include conservation tillage (53 percent), annual soil testing for nitrogen (50 percent), and rotating in nitrogen-fixing crops (50 percent).

“Nitrogen fertilizer is an essential crop nutrient and an important input for Canadian farmers. Forcing them to reduce their use of fertilizer would result in a decreased yield of their crop, less profitability and competitiveness. Given the current global challenges to the food supply, now is not the time to add policies that threaten to reduce yields even further,” stated Taylor Brown, a policy analyst at CFIB. “The federal government should give farmers more autonomy and provide support if they want to voluntarily improve their nitrogen management and adopt better practices.”

CFIB has sent a submission letter on the fertilizer emissions reduction target to the federal government urging it to keep its target voluntary. Read the full letter HERE.

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 95,000 members across every industry and region. The CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. More information is available at

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I was as ticked as anyone when the nitrogen reduction news came out but devil in details. Feds have done a pitiful job of explaining their agenda. Reduction is for nitrous oxide, a gas released in conversion of urea, 28% and other N sources to plant available N. I believe what they are after is fine tuning the 4R's - right placement (incorporated) or an inhibitor applied to slow conversion. The physical policing of such a policy is an absolute nightmare - feds cant run airports or issue passports, you think they are going to calculate my N use?
Owen |Aug 8 2022 8:34PM