Climate change research funded

Manitoba farm groups are taking part in a provincial program that looks for ways to reduce farm-related greenhouse gas emissions in the province.

Keystone Agricultural Producers and the Manitoba chapter of the National Farmers Union are among the groups that entered new partnership agreements with the provincial conservation and water stewardship department Jan. 18.

The agreements provide funding for organizations that participate in projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in specific sectors of the provincial economy.

Funding is provided through Manitoba’s Climate Change Action Fund, which is administered by the conservation department.

Other organizations that have recently joined the initiative include the Manitoba Trucking Association, The University of Winnipeg’s Prairie Climate Centre and Le Conseil de Development Economique du Manitoba.

Details of funding commitments and individual grant amounts have not been made public, but the NFU said provincial funding will allow the group to carry out research for the next 12 months.

The NFU’s Manitoba branch is in the process of hiring a lead researcher to lead the project and consult with other groups to assess the impact of current farming practices.

The initiative will:

  • identify strategies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • make recommendations aimed at adaptation and mitigation
  • provide direction for policy makers and provincial legislators
  • lead to the implementation of new farm management practices that benefit Manitoba farmers and the environment

“The research we are about to undertake will provide a solid foundation for policy recommendations to support farmers’ role in making agriculture more climate friendly,” said NFU director Ian Robson.

“We are in an excellent position to look at the big picture of climate and agriculture and help make agriculture policy that … supports a vibrant standard of living that is environmentally sustainable.”

The Manitoba government established the climate change action fund in 2001. It provides grants to projects that are aimed at expanding the scientific understanding of climate change impacts and developing new mitigation and adaptation practices.

Robson said fossil fuel consumption is one of the main challenges facing Manitoba farmers.

“We recognize that climate change challenges farmers to be more fuel efficient,” Robson said.

“We also know that with the right tools and information, we can be part of the solution.”

The fact that farm groups have been given an opportunity to craft their own responses to climate change should be viewed as a positive development for agriculture, he added.

Dean Harder, a NFU regional director from Lowe Farm, Man., said details of the NFU’s project have yet to finalized.

He said the project will likely start with a review of existing scientific literature that links agriculture to climate change.

Contact brian.cross@producer.com

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