The Federal Government has outlined its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Branden Leslie, the GGC's Manager of Policy and Government Relations, says its important farmers and the agriculture sector play a part in the discussion.
"This project is really meant to engage with government and provide recommendations of what those policies and programs are going to be. How we can actually tailor them so that they can be beneficial to farmers, whether it be financially or even just practical to farmers. You know, I think there's that lack of education about happens on the farm. It's just not available in Ottawa, and so there's an element of that."
Alberta farmer Andre Harpe chairs the GGC and says the farmer-driven path to net-zero must reflect what farmers have done and can sustainably do in the future, which is why GGC has decided to lead this important initiative.
"The ‘Road to 2050’ will propose a path forward that focuses on innovation, research and beneficial management practices. This will boost productivity while continuing to enhance soil quality, improving the carbon sequestration potential of crop land and reducing emissions. This decision represents a practical and proactive approach to tackling climate change."
Leslie says they'll be reaching out to other farm organizations to get involved and have already partnered with the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, which is not currently a member of the GGC.
"There's going to be a lot of farmer involvement through the representative groups to make sure that this path in the Road to 2050 isn't veering off in a direction that doesn't make sense for farmers. Since the whole point is to make sure that farmer voices are at the forefront here and leading this conversation about emission reductions , not just being told what to do."
Harpe says as part of Canadian grain farmers’ ongoing leadership as environmental stewards, we continue to look forward to ensure our competitiveness.
"The farmer-driven path to net-zero must reflect what farmers have done and can sustainably do in the future, which is why GGC has decided to lead this important initiative."
The federal government has already set a national fertilizer emissions reduction target of 30 per cent below 2020 levels by 2030.
Leslie admits the issue around fertilizers is challenging, but it plays a critical role, especially right now.
"You know, when we look at yield increases, especially at a time right now, when we're seeing global food insecurity at a level we haven't seen in generations. We have short carryover stocks of a number of commodities, and now with the devastating war in Ukraine, we have supply chain disruptions shortages. There's a real worry out there and now's not the time for Canada to be backing down on the amount we're producing. So, we'll certainly be relaying that message to government in terms of fertilizer emission reductions. We need to be a global superpower, but we believe we can do both. Farmers have for years now been adopting the 4R nutrient stewardship management practices that reduce the number of emissions. While making sure that we're practically applying it in a precise manner the right inputs, at the right time, at the right place, at the right rate. For anybody whose looked at their fertilizer bill this year, they know they want to be judicious in how they're applying that fertilizer, but it's also critical to the success of the crop."
Grain Growers of Canada says all recommendations in their Road to 2050 initiative will reflect farmers’ priorities while providing direction for legislators and policymakers who are making investments in research and incentivizing adoption of beneficial management practices.