Skip to content

Connecting the Dots

What farmers face, you face
web connect anne
A. Davison

There are headlines from around the world about changes to farming that governments are trying to push.
The Farmers Forum, the largest farm organization paper in Ontario headlines, “As Dutch farmers make headlines, OFA (Ontario Federation of Agriculture) ‘very concerned’ over similar ‘absolute’ fertilizer cut here.”
Drew Spoelstra, Vice President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, says in the piece he wrote, “Empty grocery store shelves in the Netherlands have made headlines recently, as farmers blocked food distribution centres in protest of strict government nutrient regulations. They’re very worried that pending legislation will not only put many of them out of business but will also affect food production.
“Food security is a more heightened topic in Europe these days than it has been for a long time, due in large part to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing conflict between two countries who are not only large global food producers, but also the source of many of the fertilizers farmers around the world depend on to grow their crops.
“Here at home, the federal government is also turning its sights on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer use, and last year announced a national fertilizer emission reduction target of 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. They’ve now launched consultations with farmers, the fertilizer industry and provincial and territorial governments to figure out how they’re going to make that happen.”
While this may seem to be a farmers issue, it will matter to every Canadian because every one of us eats. Canadians have an opportunity to speak to this issue. 
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada have created a forum which you can find at agriculture.canada.ca under public opinion research and consultations
The OFA article points out that no one is more affected by climate change than farmers, who depend upon working with nature.
Here in Manitoba and throughout Canada the Environmental Farm Plan, started in the 1990s, has seen farmers and governments collectively invest hundreds of millions of dollars in positive on-farm improvements.
Spoelstra points out the important measurement is not fertilizer sales, but “meaningful change in how nutrients are used.”
He says production capacity is difficult to recover. “Once we lose that capacity, it will be hard to get it back – and as we’ve all experienced firsthand over the last several years, the world can change rapidly, and we may not always be able to depend on others to provide us with what we need.”
There’s information on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada website. Look for Share ideas: Fertilizer emissions reduction target.