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Climate Change and Water and Soil Conservation

Hans Kristensen’s address to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food (AGRI) during their study of Climate Change and Water and Soil Conservation Issues, on Wednesday, February 7, 2018, in Ottawa
Good afternoon my name is Hans Kristensen. I am a hog and poultry producer from New Brunswick and the 1st Vice Chair of the Canadian Pork Council.
I would first like to thank the members of this Committee for the invitation to appear before you to discuss the study on Climate Change and Water and Soil Conservation.
Like all Canadians, hog producers are concerned about the implications of climate change and what impact we, as food producers, have on the soil and water resources that we depend upon.
Climate change is not a theoretical challenge for us. It impacts the crops we grow, the facilities that we use to protect our animals and the plant and animal diseases we face.
Often, we live on our farms and more often the not, success is measured by our ability to transition our farms from one generation to the next.
In addition to these larger considerations, we also face the practical reality of having to compete every day in the global marketplace.
Canadian pork producers export almost 70 percent of what they produce. We operate in a very competitive global environment and one our key advantages is our access to high quality soils and ready supplies of water.
“Canadian Pork Producers look forward to the roll out of the new Canadian Agricultural Partnership”
We are well aware of the importance of these resources and, as a result, we work hard to ensure their long-term availability.
The necessity of being globally competitive means that we must continually focus on producing more pork utilizing less land, water and energy.
In addition, hog producers are keenly aware of the importance of maintaining the trust of Canadians – all Canadians, not just those that consume our pork.
What this means is that producers are under tremendous pressure to not only be stewards of their environment, but be seen to be environmental stewards.
We accept this challenge and have started to closely track and our progress. For example, Quebec producers are now routinely monitoring their progress. In four short years the amount of water used to produce a kilogram of pork has declined by 1.7%. Quebec producers have also benchmarked their sector against global producers and found their carbon foot print is 31% less than the global average.
US research shows that American hog producers, who utilize production systems similar to those employed in Canada, have over the past 50 years decreased the natural resources consumed by pigs by 50% per kilogram of pork produced. Farmers are using 40% less water, 33% less feed and as much as 59% less land.
At the national level the Pork Value Chain Roundtable will be building on the work undertaken at the provincial level to complete a Life Cycle Assessment of Canada’s pork industry.
Over the years we have embraced a number of different initiatives – often in partnership with federal, provincial and/or municipal governments.
An early example of this was the adoption of Environmental Farm Plans.
The Environmental Farm Plan is an assessment completed by farmers that is aimed at identifying and mitigating potential environmental risks on the farm.
These plans, coupled with technical and/or financial incentives to address identified challenges have served to not only raise awareness of the issues at the farm level, but also implement actions to address them. It is a classic example of thinking globally and acting locally.
Source : Canadian Meat Business