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Reviving testing for non-fertilizer supplements in Canadian agriculture

Canada is taking significant steps towards sustainable agriculture, aiming to reduce fertilizer-related greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. A central component of this goal is providing farmers with access to non-fertilizer supplements as alternatives. These supplements not only offer potential cost savings compared to traditional fertilizers but also promise environmental benefits. 

A major challenge is the absence of structured, independent testing for these products. This lack of testing creates uncertainty about the effectiveness of the supplements, complicating the decision-making process for farmers and leading to confusion in the market.  

The proposed solution is for the federal government to reintroduce comprehensive testing and data reporting. This would entail companies conducting extensive field trials, comparing their products against control plots, to accurately measure effects on crop yield, disease prevalence, and other claimed benefits.  

The Canadian non-fertilizer supplement market, previously discontinued in 2013 due to budget cuts, is now viewed as crucial for restoring credibility and trust. It could help identify effective products, boost farmer confidence, and potentially shift towards conventional fertilizers, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

The benefits of this testing are numerous: it could weed out ineffective products, identify and quantify the effectiveness of viable ones, and potentially contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining crop yields.  

Mandatory testing may delay the introduction of new products, prompting the need for a provisional marketing strategy. This would enable companies to sell their products while testing is ongoing, providing farmers with immediate access to innovative products, ensuring thorough testing and verification of claims within a few years.  

The National Farmers Union (NFU) and other organizations are advocating for this reform, highlighting the necessity of government involvement in this sector. This initiative highlights the importance of dependable, scientifically validated information in making agriculture more sustainable and effective. 

Various agricultural regions such as Kansas, Iowa, Texas, California, and the European Union have maintained comprehensive testing and reporting, a practice Canada aims to emulate.  

Source : wisconsinagconnection

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