Trudeau moving ahead on fertilizer reduction despite warnings from ministers, groups

"Provinces were disappointed by the lack of flexibility and consultation regarding the federal target," said Ontario’s Lisa Thompson.

Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC

Several provincial agriculture ministers are expressing their displeasure with the Trudeau Liberals' plans to reduce fertilizer use by Canadian farmers in an effort to curb emissions.

After a meeting between federal and provincial ministers, several provinces are saying that they're disappointed.

"Provinces were disappointed by the lack of flexibility and consultation regarding the federal target," said Ontario’s Lisa Thompson after the meeting, which wrapped up on Friday.

"The world is looking for Canada to increase production and be a solution to global food shortages. The Federal government needs to display that they understand this," Alberta minister Nate Horner said, according to the Toronto Sun.

"We’re really concerned with this arbitrary goal," said Saskatchewan’s David Marit.

Federal minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said that the farmers would embrace the ambitious target, saying: "I’m meeting with many farmers in the field. I know how much they care for the environment and how much they invest in new practices and new technologies to reduce their emissions as much as possible. The idea is to produce the most sustainable food in the world."

In 2020, the Trudeau Liberals announced that their goal was to reduce emissions from fertilizer, a major producer of nitrous oxide, by 50 percent over the next eight years.

Fertilizer Canada slammed the government's "short-sighted approach," arguing that reducing nitrogen fertilizer use "will have considerable impact on Canadian farmers' incomes and reduce overall Canadian exports and GDP."

In a report compiled by Meyers Norris Penny (MNP), they suggest that regulated fertilizer reduction could cost Canadian farmers $48 billion by 2030 and reduce crop sizes

By this time, "yield gaps for three major crops are estimated at 23.6 bushels per acre per year for canola, 67.9 bushels per acre per year for corn, and 36.1 bushels per acre per year for spring wheat."

As the Toronto Sun reports, fertilizer is typically the most expensive cost for farmers, and they tend to use only as much as is needed.

Farmers will likely be forced to move to using more costly, "greener" fertilizer, which will lead to higher prices for consumers.  

The measures are similar to ones implemented in Europe which sparked mass protests, specifically in Holland.

Farmers in the Netherlands protested by shutting down major city centers, as well as airports and product distribution centers across the country.


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