Amid widely varying views and opinions on how Canada should reach its fertilizer emissions reduction target, the federal government has struck a new fertilizer working group.
Announced Wednesday as part of the release of its What We Heard report, the working group is being formed under the Sustainable Agriculture Strategy Advisory Committee and will seek to improve communication and engagement between Ottawa and the agricultural sector on the government’s voluntary but highly contentious plan to reduce fertilizer emissions by 30% from 2022 levels by 2030.
The objectives of the working group will also include examining mechanisms that need further support, such as program funding and the adoption of beneficial management practices (BMP), as well as improving the measurement and tracking of fertilizer emissions reductions in the sector.
The What We Heard report essentially boils down the feedback the government received from farmers, producers, industry associations, provinces and territories, scientists and environmental organizations on the 30% reduction target. Over 2,000 submissions were received through online consultation, technical workshops and town hall meetings between March and October 2022.
According to the Wheat We Heard report executive summary, a large amount of input received through email submissions and the online survey questioned whether a fertilizer emissions reduction target was even needed. The comment was often coupled with concerns that a mandatory target might later be imposed, potentially impacting production.
Input also showed concern about the timeline for the target, including an acknowledgement of the amount of work that remains, particularly when it comes to data and measurement. Improved recognition for the role that Canadian farmers already play in promoting sustainability and taking action to reduce emissions was also identified as a clear priority, the report said. Other input frequently cited the importance of considering the economics of reducing emissions, and the impact that climate change policies could have if done without considering producer profitability and yield.
The full What we Heard report can be found here: