Northern Sunrise goes to bat for farmers

Emily Plihal
South Peace News

Northern Sunrise County (NSC) has reviewed and approved the NSC Agricultural Service Board (ASB) resolution for Synthetic Fertilizer Emissions and directed administration to submit it to the ASB regional conference Oct. 28 in Grande Prairie.
The federal government recently announced it would attempt to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with synthetic fertilizer by 30 per cent below 2020 levels by 2030. They have also set a target for 2025 of achieving $75 billion in agricultural exports but cutting the use of synthetic fertilizer will inevitably reduce the crop production for Canadian farmers.
“The county wants to ensure that our producers can continue to grow sustainable high-yielding agricultural products for them and Canada to remain economically competitive in the world market, especially with increasing demands for food, feed, and biofuel products, both domestic and abroad,” says Reeve Carolyn Kolebaba.
“To achieve production demands, the use of fertilizer is essential to produce increasingly high crop yields.”
NSC’s ASB resolution requests the government utilize the 4R Climate-Smart Protocol use instead, which was designed to promote sustainable use of fertilizer in crop production. The 4Rs of fertilizer application are Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time, and Right Place. The resolution indicated that the 4R Climate-Smart Protocol would optimize plant nutrient uptake, increase yield, maximize profits and minimize nitrous oxide emissions.
“Canadian agricultural producers currently utilize fertilizer efficiently and even marginal reductions in fertilizer use will hinder crop production, threatening the well-being of Canadians, as well as the global food supply,” says Kolebaba.
“This restriction on fertilizer may result in soil nutrients being underapplied, which would threaten agricultural sustainability by reducing soil fertility and soil nutrient reserves. As well, our producers are using the 4R in production and are very conscientious of the health of the lands they produce food on,” she adds.
The ASB also asks that more funding be provided for regional research and development regarding fertilizer use efficiency and that the federal government suspend targets until the proper tools to measure emissions for producers are available.
Kolebaba added development of more efficient fertilizer products or application methods, paired with more accurate monitoring techniques and environmentally conscious targeted fertilizer application programs will allow producers and overall Canada to meet the fertilizer emission target without hindering crop production, sustainability, and the economy.

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