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Feds invest in green agriculture research

The University of Saskatchewan received more than $3 million from the federal government to study how to reduce agricultural greenhouse gases


Saskatoon, Sask. – An investment to the University of Saskatchewan will help farmers to update their environmental practices to keep pace with changes in farming.

The federal government has invested $3.4 million to the university to study how to reduce agricultural greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the areas of agroforestry, irrigation and nitrogen use. Canada’s agriculture minister, Gerry Ritz, made the announcement on Tuesday at the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases meeting in Saskatoon.

Ritz explained that Canadian farmers are good stewards of the land but that farming is always changing and environmental practices need to keep up with that change.

Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program

The $3.4-million investment is through the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), a five-year, $27-million initiative that focuses on developing on-farm greenhouse gas mitigation technologies.

The AGGP will provide funding to various partners across Canada to investigate innovative mechanisms, tools and approaches that provide real solutions for the agriculture sector. The AGGP is Canada’s initial contribution to the Global Research Alliance.

“As our world’s population grows, farmers face an increasing challenge to feed everyone adequately, safely and sustainably,” says Karen Chad, vice-president of research at the University of Saskatchewan.

“Knowledge created by this research in one of our signature areas will help farmers as they strive to produce more food while safeguarding the environment.”

The investment will be used for three separate projects:

• Nearly $980,000 will be used to develop new beneficial management practices for nitrogen-use efficiency in the forage beef sector that minimize nitrous oxide emissions and maximize carbon sequestration;
• Almost $920,000 will be used to study GHGs in irrigated systems typical of the Prairies. Irrigation is practiced on one million hectares of farmland in Canada, and more irrigation will be required to meet the food requirements of a growing world population. Enhancing efficiencies in the supply and use of irrigation water has the potential to reduce GHGs while expanding economic opportunity; and
• $1.5 million will be used to study how agroforestry plantings can help mitigate GHGs.

Research Alliance

Canada is hosting nearly 30 member countries as it officially begins its duties as chair of the Global Research Alliance Council for one year.

Launched in 2009, the Global Research Alliance is an international network that brings together both developed and developing countries to collectively find ways to grow more food and develop more climate-resilient agriculture production systems, without increasing GHGs.

These new mitigation technologies and beneficial management practices will then be made available to farmers worldwide through the Global Research Alliance.