More than 70% of farmers say forced fertilizer cuts will cause food shortages, finds

A recent poll found that 72% of farmers said the Liberal government’s plan to cut fertilizer emissions by 30% would cause crop yields and food production to plummet if the target were implemented. I was.

Farmers were polled in a survey conducted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and published in June 2022.

CFIB policy analyst Taylor Brown said: study, We surveyed what Canadian farmers think about reducing emissions schedule— which also calls for massive fertilizer cuts — was introduced by Trudeau 2020 government.

Brown, in collaboration with CFIB Vice President of State Affairs Jasmine Gennett, found that almost three-quarters of the 361 farmers surveyed (who are also CFIB members) said they would be willing to reduce their nitrogen emissions if they mandated them to reduce their nitrogen emissions. found that both crop yields and overall food production would decline.

“our [members] I’m worried,” Brown told the Epoch Times.

“They know that even a little less fertilizer will lead to lower profitability and lower yields, and they are now facing additional cost increases and labor shortages.”

Brown said Russia’s tariffs have already made fertilizer “incredibly expensive” and a policy requiring mandatory cuts would push prices up even further.

“Some farmers are wondering how we can continue to feed not just Canadians, but the world,” she said.

The CFIB, a non-profit business advocacy organization, called the Canadian government on the Brown and Gennett case. report Redesign future emission reduction plans to accommodate the livelihoods of Canadian farmers.

“Farmers can be part of the solution, not the problem, in Canada’s environmental planning,” says the report.

‘red flag’

in that climate schedule, “A healthy environment and a healthy economy,” said the federal government, which said it aims to cut nationwide emissions from fertilizers by 30% “below 2020 levels.”

The government also said that “direct emissions” from the use of synthetic fertilizers have increased by 60% over the past 15 years and are “projected to continue to increase.”

“Improving fertilizer use through better products and practices will save farmers money and time and help protect Canada’s land and water,” he said. climate plan.

A 30% emission reduction target is currently optional, but proposed climate planIf passed, Canadians will have to adjust their habits to reach their goals.

“[That’s] It’s another red flag for us,” Brown said. “We are concerned about broad sweeping initiatives of all kinds.”

“Nitrous oxide emissions vary greatly from state to state,” Brown said, adding that a federal mandate to cut emissions evenly across the country would not adequately address the problem at hand. .

“In the West, as we know, it’s a large agricultural production area. In fact, per acre, you’ll find they don’t emit that much nitrous oxide,” Brown said. “But in the East, it’s quite different. So we want better, less widespread initiatives going forward.”

CFIB report More than half of the companies and farmers surveyed say that forced emission cuts will hurt the profitability of their agricultural operations. More than 40% said they had already reduced their emissions and had already limited their use of nitrogen fertilizers, making further reductions “difficult”.

“Nearly half of our members say they have already optimized their nitrogen fertilizer use,” says Brown. “And they achieved this through the use of conservation tillage, soil testing, nitrogen-fixing crop rotations, and 4-R nutrition management.”

Farmers have been looking for new ways to cut nitrogen emissions for the past 15 years, Brown said, and the looming government mandate is making many farmers uneasy. Especially in light of the widespread farmer protests in Europe in response to the enactment of similar policies in Europe.

“Europe has aggressive emissions targets, and you can see Dutch farmers protesting because they know their harvest will be completely garbage,” says Brown. said Mr. “[Canadian] Farmers are concerned about what will happen with this initiative, seeing what is happening in Europe. ”

‘Costs will continue to rise’

Canadians who rely on healthy crop production for their grocery store shelves will also feel the benefits of lower fertilizer emissions if mandated, Brown said.

“[Consumers] We will definitely see that in their bottom line,” she said. “With fewer products available, demand will stay the same and costs will continue to rise.”

Rising inflation, labor shortages and supply chain problems have already hit the Canadian economy hard enough, Brown said, and new environmental initiatives will only make things worse for Canadian consumers.

“I myself spent over $5 on sweet potatoes the other day,” Brown said. “And, frankly, it’s alarming. You have to think about people who can’t afford it.” [buy groceries], and instead of eating healthy meals at home from local farmers, they go to fast food joints and get their food. ”

Brown said the CFIB is focused on appealing to governments to maintain voluntary emission reduction targets because both farmers and consumers are at risk.

“We have been reassured by our federal counterparts that they want to keep this on a voluntary basis. They are focusing on emissions, not actual hard nitrogen fertilizer reductions. ‘ she said.

“However, if farmers are forced to reduce their use of nitrogen fertilizers, they should be concerned about reduced yields. means.”

The Epoch Times reached out to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for comment, but did not hear back by publication time.

peter wilson


Peter Wilson is a reporter based in Ontario, Canada.