Applied agri-food research is an important topic that has continued to remain underfunded. That’s according to Executive Director Ken Coles, who works for Farming Smarter in Lethbridge. Coles presented at SACPA today earlier today. He says that Canada’s Agricultural Climate Solutions Program is encouraging farmers to reduce their nitrogen fertilizer use by 30 per cent by the year 2030. He says most farmers are not in favour.
“So, this is a controversial policy. It isn’t actually a policy at this point. It’s meant to be a voluntary objective from what’s being communicated. However, it’s not been I think accepted by the ag community as such. They see it as a risk to future regulations where they’re being told how much fertilizer they can use. So, I think that’s what has brought a lot of the debate.”
Coles says between 2005 and 2019, fertilizer application increased by 71 per cent in Canada, primarily driven by more fertilizer use in Western Canada. Over the same period, emissions from fertilizer use in Canada increased by 54 per cent.