Farmers across Canada share their thoughts on net-zero emission targets

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

Since the federal government has published its plan detailing expectations of carbon emissions reductions by 2030, it’s certainly been the hot topic of many farming conversations.

The Dairy Farmers of Canada has made a commitment for dairy to be net-zero targets for 2050, while the Grain Growers of Canada have acknowledged they will work with the government to to reach overall net-zero goals.

If you haven’t had a chance to read up on what this means for agriculture, take a read, here, here, or here.

On the April 7th edition of the Farmer Rapid Fire on RealAg Radio, host Shaun Haney asked producers across Canada if they support the idea of the net-zero emission targets for the agriculture sector.

Brett Israel of Mapleton, Ont. says, as an organic operation, a big focus out of the targets for them is soil health and carbon sequestration, and the asks are falling within the realm of possibility.

“I really think if we can find a way to work with Mother Nature, to be better stewards of the land, to sequester more carbon to build better soils, and ultimately deliver healthy, quality food to our community — we’re doing our best job as producers. So slapping a label on something as net-zero, I think can result in greenwashing from time-to-time. But I think that producers are on the frontlines of this climate debate,” he explains. “We have a great opportunity — probably better opportunity than any general person around the country of Canada — to make a good impact on the climate. So I’m excited about our role.”

Dwayne Leslie of Poplar Point, Man. says when he reads all of these targets, he often thinks of the logistics behind it all. For example, how can you possibly have enough electrical providers to phase out the internal combustion engine by the targeted timeline? It’s just not possible, he says.

“Where we farm we are getting a new power line come through in 2025. I think in many ways it’s great because they’re looking to the future and redundancy, and many other reasons why they’re doing it. Ultimately, there needs to be a very much higher level discussion about all of this stuff, rather than just politicians on the short-term election cycle trying to come up with all this stuff to make them sound good,” he says. “So it’ll never happen, what they’re talking about, but at least if it’s pushing us in the right direction, maybe that’s okay.”

Kevin Serfas of Turin, Alta. says when it comes to all of these government policies, one of the key things to keep in mind is if you don’t come up with something concrete to bring back to the government in response to what they propose, they are going to do the picking for you.

“[The government] has been pitching numbers in regards to carbon in the environment for 20 years. They never meet them — but you’ve got to start with something. If the groups don’t go to the government with a number, a day, a year, or something, it’s going to fall on deaf ears. They are doing this the right way,” says Serfas.

Check out the full episode of the show, here.

As well, be sure to vote in our  poll to have your say.