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Grain Growers of Canada want farmer-led plan for net zero emissions

The Grain Growers of Canada says it wants to work with government to achieve net zero carbon emissions, but not be told how it must do so.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada issued a discussion document on July 22 that calls for a reduction of GHG emissions from fertilizers to drop 30 per cent from 2020 levels by 2030. The government is seeking input from farmers, processors, Indigenous communities, environmental organizations, youth and other stakeholders by August 31.

Late in March, the Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) announced it would launch a Road to 2050 net-zero emissions initiative. Andre Harpe, chair of the GGC, told Farmers Forum it wants to pursue the target while supporting farmers’ interests.

“We’ve gone and said, hey, let’s go with this, but let’s do it in such a way that farmers can live with it and that is beneficial to farmers and comes from the farmers — because, as we’ve seen over the past little while, some arbitrary lines have been drawn, and everybody’s quite concerned about them and whether they can be done or not,” Harpe said in an interview.

Fertilizer Canada, which represents manufacturers and distributors, commissioned Myers Norris Penny to report on the implications of reducing fertilizer applications by just 20 per cent by 2030. The estimate made last September said the result would be lower yields that cost farmers $48 billion by 2030.

“This would be devastating, such that any plan to reduce carbon emissions would need to be done in a way that the future productivity of major crops is maintained,” the report said.

Fertilizer reduction targets in the Netherlands have sparked protests, as they did in Sri Lanka, where a literal revolution occurred over the issue.

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