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Emissions: it’s in the details

The federal Liberal government’s online consultation on its proposed 30-percent reduction of nitrous oxide emissions closed last week but the discussion will continue with technical discussions beginning this month.

The issue became politicized through the summer as Conservative MPs referred to it as an impending fertilizer ban and some farmers said they would be forced to reduce fertilizer use. Researchers and others said lower emissions are possible with new products and technology that will also maintain yields and farmer profitability.

Federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has repeatedly said the 30-percent decrease by 2030 is a target that won’t include a mandated reduction.

Grain Growers of Canada, Western Canadian Wheat Growers and the National Farmers Union all issued comments as the six-month consultation period ended Aug. 31.

GGC, with its 65,000 members in 14 organizations, said there has to be a way to mesh increasing food production with lower emissions.

“With the threat of global food insecurity, we must develop an approach that aligns the imminent need for increased food production with the long-term goal of increasing on-farm sustainability,” said GGC chair and Alberta farmer Andre Harpe.

In its submission to the consultation, GGC said it is concerned that government will limit fertilizer use if progress isn’t made within the next eight years.

“We cannot stress our opposition to such a policy enough,” it said.

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