GHGMP News Releases

Soil and nutrient management groups tackle greenhouse gas emissions

Indian Head, Sask., June 23, 2004

A demonstration program focusing on projects for soil and nutrient management aims to create awareness of soil conservation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The focus of the Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program (GHGMP) for Canadian Agriculture is on addressing the issue of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while building a sustainable agricultural environment. GHGMP is part of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Action Plan 2000 on Climate Change. Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC) administers funds for projects in the soil and nutrient management sectors.

"We've developed the projects and demonstrations to reflect the needs of the producers," says Doug McKell, executive director of the SCCC. "Each province is responsible for developing projects specific to their area. This 'taking charge' approach has allowed us to build a strong network of producer groups who are focused on dealing with conservation issues and greenhouse gas emissions.

"Over the last few years, it has been hard not to accept the fact that there are going to be more droughts and other climatic events that seriously impact our land," says McKell. "Producers realize the importance of sustainability and are keen to learn new ways to adapt to these issues, including climate change."

Canadian producers accept the need for change and are eager to participate in programs that benefit agronomics and economics, as well as climate change. McKell says many producers are already adopting new methods of farming that improve productivity and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But he adds that agricultural producers, like other Canadians, need to be prepared to tackle climate change.

While the overall goal of the program is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture, McKell says creating awareness by demonstrating best management practices for soil and nutrient management is the absolute key.

"From an economic and agronomic basis, we want to demonstrate that best management practices that reduce greenhouse gases make sense for producers and their industry," says McKell. "The economic argument is the strongest one we can make to farmers who are considering adopting these management practices."

While McKell oversees projects in Ontario and Western Canada, Jerome Damboise of the Eastern Canada Soil and Water Conservation Centre, works closely with provincial groups in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Damboise says the structure of the program ensures positive participation and progress.

"This program is essentially run by producers for producers," says Damboise. "It is easier to sell a practice to a producer when the message is coming from a peer rather than an outsider."

GHGMP demonstrations promote practices such as direct seeding, minimum or reduced tillage, reducing summerfallow and introducing perennial forages into marginal lands. On the nutrient side, best practices include addressing the use of commercial fertilizers and manure, such as more efficient use of fertilizers, ensuring that nutrients do not enter water systems, and reducing the release of nitrous oxide from the fertilizers.

Further explanation of the greenhouse gas program and how producers can participate are the subject of a feature article on the SCCC Web site: www.soilcc.ca.

The Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program for Canadian Agriculture is a federal program designed to promote the awareness and adoption of livestock, soil and nutrient management practices that reduce or remove atmospheric greenhouse gas.


For more information, contact:

Jerome Damboise, Co-ordinator
Eastern Canada Soil and Water Conservation Centre
Phone: (506) 475-4040
Web site: www.soilcc.ca