+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 5-22F

Fertilizer Emission Reduction Target Impacts

Date:
November 9, 2022
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2025
Active Status:
Active
Sponsors:
MD of Taber
District:
1 - Foothills-Little Bow
Year:
2022
Convention:
Fall
Category:
Agriculture
Status:
Sent to Government
Vote Results:
Carried
Preamble:

WHEREAS In December 2020, the Government of Canada set a national fertilizer emissions reduction target of 30% by 2030; and

WHEREAS fertilizer is a critical input for crop production, and reducing fertilizer use will impact yields and future yield gains across the country; and

WHEREAS according to a report published by Fertilizer Canada, a 30% rate reduction model is estimated to result in a loss of $10.4 billion in canola, corn, and spring wheat crop production by 2030; and

WHEREAS significant production loss will have detrimental effects on Canada’s ability to fill domestic processing and export capacities which will affect the overall Canadian Agri-food economy; and

WHEREAS the success of the Canadian agriculture sector depends heavily on the ability to export; and, in 2021, Canada exported approximately $82.2 billion in agriculture and food products; and

WHEREAS Canada is the fifth-largest exporter of Agri-food in the world, exporting to over 200 countries; and

WHEREAS a significant reduction in crop production will have an adverse effect on the global supply of food; and

WHEREAS emission reduction targets should be based on emissions per unit of crop produced to maintain growing agricultural exports, as focusing on absolute emissions from the sector will have severe consequences to the competitiveness of agricultural operators and the fertilizer industry; and

WHEREAS Canadian farmers have been and are currently implementing sustainable practices to mitigate fertilizer emissions; and

WHEREAS through collaboration with specialists/agronomists, crop outputs are maximized using the smallest amount of input, new equipment and technology are invested in to mitigate product waste and scheduling crop rotations appropriately, and biodiversity is utilized to promote soil health and produce livestock feed; and

WHEREAS the implementation of Fertilizer Canada’s 4R Nutrient Stewardship has the ability to balance farmer, industry and government goals to improve on-farm economics, crop productivity and fertilizer efficiency, while benefiting the environment by focusing on the 4R principles – “Right Source, Right Time, Right Rate and Right Place;” and

WHEREAS the Government of Canada has indicated that it will collaborate with fertilizer manufacturers, agricultural operators, and provinces/territories to develop an approach that will meet the 30% reduction target, and to date, there has been no announced approached and no known viable alternatives to synthetic fertilizers;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta request that the Government of Canada either cancel the 30% fertilizer emissions reduction target or ensure that said target remains voluntary.

Member Background:

In December 2020, the Government of Canada released a plan to reduce emissions from fertilizer by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030, stating that Canadian agriculture, specifically synthetic fertilizer use, is responsible for approximately 10% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The MD of Taber is concerned with how this data was collected, measured, and accounted for. Without obtaining data at an individual farm level, it is unlikely that the measurement of emissions related to the use of fertilizer is accurate. Furthermore, there has been no clear indication of how the 30% reduction rate was calculated and the information that it was based on. There is a direct need for accurate benchmark data, fertilizer-use data, and emissions data before creating a realistic reduction target.

Reducing fertilizer use will result in significant production loss which will directly contribute to a decrease in financial gains, global food supply availability and Canada’s domestic processing/exporting capacities.  This target has the potential to negatively impact agricultural operators within rural communities throughout the Country.

The Municipal District of Taber is concerned that the Government of Canada has failed to consider the current practices that Canadian Farmers are (and have been) using to reduce fertilizer use, nor are these practices being accounted for in the current reduction target calculations and considerations.

Supporting Documentation

  • Fertilizer Canada > Stewardship > Emissions Reduction Initiative

https://fertilizercanada.ca/our-focus/stewardship/emissions-reduction-initiative/

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

https://agriculture.canada.ca/en

RMA Background:

RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.

Federal Ministries and Bodies:
Agriculture and Agri-Food
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