Farmers Forum staff
GUELPH — With future yields at stake, Ontario’s grain farmers are insisting that Ottawa respect their already judicious use of fertilizer and sustainable farming methods, including the longstanding ‘4R’ nutrient stewardship strategy.
The sector’s existing practices are highlighted by the Grain Farmers of Ontario in their recent submission to Ottawa on the Trudeau government’s controversial goal of cutting nitrogen fertilizer emissions 30% by 2030.
“It is critical that these practices are recognized and supported while we work with the government to achieve its climate goals,” GFO Chair Brendan Byrne said.
“Ontario grain farmers have a global reputation for being world-leading adopters of sustainable farming practices. In our submission, (GFO) championed the importance of continued yield increases and advocated for practical and realistic solutions,” Byrne said.
His organization flat-out opposes Ottawa’s 30% fertilizer reduction target because it would “negatively impact food security.”
GFO especially advises the federal department to not pursue that goal in a manner which undermines farmer productivity or fails to recognize the success of the 4R nutrient stewardship approach and related 4R Ontario certification program. The 4R concept maintains that the right fertilizer must be applied at the right rate, right time and right place.
Ottawa needs to “formally and publicly recognize and support 4R Nutrient Stewardship as a trusted solution to improving nutrient use efficiency and minimizing environmental loss,” the GFO missive says.
Improved efficiency, however, often isn’t enough for environmentalist groups, who tend to favour outright bans and caps.
GFO forwarded its input to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada before the department closed down consultations at the end of August as planned.