For Immediate Release
FREDERICTON, NB. (Aug. 10, 2017) -
Producer-led forage and grassland groups across Canada are looking at the recent Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) as a clear signal of greater things to come.
"Identifying environmental sustainability and climate change as a priority in CAP is a firm commitment by the federal government towards projects like the current Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Program our group is currently working on," says Cedric MacLeod, executive director of the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA), adding the program will develop and test a carbon reduction protocol for high performance forage management systems in Canada.
Signed at the Federal and Provincial agricultural ministers meeting in Newfoundland in July, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion investment that will come into effect on April 1, 2018 to guide Canada's agricultural industry over the next five years. The new framework will focus on six priority areas, all of which have varying potential for Canada's forage and grassland producers to work within.
"Forage and grassland producers have been farming their operations with an eye on next year's harvest for millennia," says MacLeod. "Our people tend to farm with what's best for their operations and what's best for the environment on equal footing. The CAP appears to be a very welcome reinforcement of the way our people run their farms."
CFGA chairman Ray Robertson, from Ontario, says the Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Program (AGGP) research by CFGA will provide forage producers with valuable ecological information.
"Producers already know forages are valuable for capturing carbon, and the AGGP research will quantify the full value of the ecological goods and services provided by the grassland sector," Robertson says. "It will also quantify the economic value of the contributions made by individual landowners whose soil does carbon storage with their adoption of beneficial management practices and the use of new, high performance forage genetics."
The Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA) says the CAP was warmly received across the board. Manitoba's forage and grassland production, for instance, puts it among the nation's leaders year after year.
"There's some very exciting potential that we see coming our way from CAP," says Duncan Morrison, MFGA executive director. "All eyes are turning to grass; it's finally getting out there loud and clear that, while our lands provide critically important food sources for livestock, our lands are also providing critically important benefits such as soil health, flood and drought mitigation and carbon capture to all Canadians.
"It's reassuring and motivating at the same time. We look forward to working with our federal and provincial agriculture leaders to continue this momentum through CAP."