Agriculture focuses on environment

Feeding the world with climate smart agriculture has been a long-standing priority for Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector.

Agriculture was not part of the agenda at the climate change summit in Paris, but prime minister Justin Trudeau can be proud of the important role that Canadian agriculture is playing in meeting challenges related to the environment and food security.

Canadian agriculture is already focused on implementing innovative strategies for environmental stewardship.

The industry has readily implemented climate smart agriculture with innovative practices, which have made our industry more productive while minimizing impacts on the environment.

The country’s farmers are living proof that the world can produce more food while maintaining the resource base needed to produce that food. They are also ready to improve productivity while minimizing their impact on the environment.

Global crop production must increase by 70 percent to feed nine billion people by 2050. Meeting the demand for nutritious food will require the efficient use of valuable resources.

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The per capita demand for calories and protein rises as global populations become more affluent. Feeding all the people in the world remains one of our greatest challenges and will require a collaboration of all players in a resilient, complex and competitive food system.

Replenishing the nutrients used by the crop each year with fertilizer ensures the production of sustainable food.

Canadian farmers are adopting innovative and science-based methods by applying fertilizer using the 4R Nutrient Stewardship standards of right source, right rate, right time and right place.

This world-leading Canadian-made program has the capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from nitrogen fertilizer use by 15 to 25 percent. It allows producers to grow more food using existing farmland and ensuring the protection of the environment and the production of safe food for consumers.

Small-holder farms in Africa and other developing regions can use 4R Nutrient Stewardship to significantly change and improve growing conditions.

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Canadian farmers are also a global leader in producing and exporting pulse crops. They make a major contribution to global food security by exporting to more than 150 countries when local production is insufficient to meet demand.

Lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas provide a variety of benefits to the world:

  • contribute calories and protein
  • improve health outcomes in undernourished and overnourished populations
  • improve sustainability by de-creasing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, improving soil health and improving the overall productivity of agricultural systems.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization declared 2015 the International Year of Soils and 2016 the International Year of Pulses. The declarations signaled a shared vision for food production systems that are sustainable and contribute positively to food security and nutrition.

Canada is a world leader in soil conservation and pulse production, and the country’s agricultural industry has joined the FAO in celebrating these international years.

The industry is uniquely positioned to become not only a source of food for Canada and the world but also to be a leader in the quest for solutions that contribute to ensuring a food system that offers food for healthy people and a healthy planet.

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Garth Whyte is president and chief executive officer of Fertilizer Canada and Gordon Bacon is CEO of Pulse Canada.

  • ed

    One of the most important contributions that Western Canadian farmers are and have been able to make since giving up the CWB in 2012 has been sharing of the value of high quality RSW and more so the the protein premiums in a new environment where protein is in more demand than it ever has been in history as noted in this article above. Ratcheting down the premiums on protein from nearly $3.00 per bushel to a mere segregation fee of as little as 10 cents per bushel represents a voluntary charitable contribution from these farmers of Billions of $$$ per year and is extremely commendable indeed. The fact that it is driving up these kind farmers debt by almost the same number of dollars annually makes the humanitarian contribution even more commendable as it shows that Western Canadian farmers are in many cases willing to finance these donations over up to 25 years and pass the obligation off to their farming children and generations beyond to pay and keep donating at these lofty levels. One small, predictable and sad spoiler here however is that the Cargills and Pioneers of the world are grafting off nearly all of the farmer’s donation dollars values into their own pockets as witnessed by their hugh income increases since the mandatory implementation of Western Canadian wheat farmer protein donation day mandated by our former forward thinking Conservative government on August 1st, 2012. But as in a lot of things, it is always the thought that counts, right?

  • Dr

    Suddenly big Ag is doing its part on the environment? Just a number of months ago we still heard the right wing naysayers stating that climate change is good for them. What about the most energy intensive process on the planet of making urea fertilizer and the shopping it to and fro from processing plant to processing plant?
    My point being that growing more food on less land is really not sustainable nor is it the best at sequestering carbon. Especially when the deforestation is taken into account. The era of not factoring in all costs is coming to an end. Be on the cutting edge or be cut. Cattle farming is one of the biggest GHG emitters. No talk of that here. It would seem the smoke and mirror trade is still thriving. Give another pat on the back, stick your head in the sand and don t look back…at least if you are afraid of real change.

    • richard

      Dead right on the real cost of nitrogen fertilizer…..When you can grow your own nitrogen for fifty dollars a tonne plus ancillary environmental benefits (forage legumes)….it makes you wonder how long the 500 a tonne urea with ancillary baggage, is going to cut it….. The myths firewalling the “sustainability” of zero till are epic and predicated on the environment backstopping the whole show……Its going to get real interesting when the “carbon sliderule” confronts the corporate mythologists and their spin monkeys…..

      • ed

        Yes, indeed. The gig is up for the Jokers on this one.

      • puskwakau

        Please note the author’s weekday job title.

  • Guest

    It is easy to spin numbers to help sell your product as a CEO of a fertilizer company. But lets look at the amount of food in the world today. There is enough for everyone, no one must go hungry. There is only poverty that does not let some people buy their fair share. How about the billions of dollars of food that is wasted. Removed from shelves because of expiry dates. Do not doughnut companies make new doughnuts everyday? They don’t even bother to sell the older doughnuts where I live anyway. How many people should be having only half their intake of calories a day? I won’t even bother to write this number. All this fertilizer did with wheat is ruin the price. Instead of being $15.00 a bushel it is $5.00 a bushel today. A direct result of the overproduction caused at least with the help of fertilizer. People in countries such as Africa must learn to grow more of their own food. Stop their corruption and storage problems. There is no need for anyone to go hungry now or in the future.