From FCC Express by Owen Roberts
Ontario farmers say they have a head start implementing the kind of climate change measures suggested in a new provincial discussion paper.
The document, Ontario’s Climate Change Discussion Paper 2015 , is expected to generate discussion that will shape environmental policy in Ontario. It pays significant attention to agriculture – how it can be affected by weather, and how farming itself may cause change.
“Food security and costs will be an early problem as climate change impacts where our food is grown and affects our water supply,” says the province’s environment and climate change minister Glen Murray.
The paper specifically notes that as stewards of many of the province’s natural resources, rural communities are vulnerable to a wide range of climate impacts.
It says the province can become a leader in low-carbon technologies based primarily in rural Ontario, such as developing solar and wind power, and in alternative fuels, such as biofuels with feedstocks produced by farming and forestry.
The report also notes how Ontario should improve efficiency in agriculture and cut down greenhouse gas emissions through practices already common to many farmers, like crop rotation, cover crops, alternative crops, residue and manure management. The report states agriculture, which accounts for about six per cent of the province’s greenhouse gas emissions, has reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the last 20 years, but only marginally.
Ontario Federation of Agriculture president Don McCabe says farmers take climate change seriously, as climate impacts agriculture more than any other industry.
“Farmers are adopting recommendations or looking at changing their farming practices to reduce greenhouse gasses or to adapt to extreme weather conditions,” McCabe says.
He says farmers broke ground some 25 years ago with industry-driven, peer-reviewed environmental farm plans to implement more sustainable practices on their own farms.
McCabe says the federation will be making a formal submission to the climate change discussion paper, to ensure agriculture’s voice is heard.