Liberal Fertilizer Emissions Reduction Targets Hurt Canadian Farmers
Shannon Stubbs wrote Agriculture Minsiter Marie-Claude Bibeau to highlight the disastrous consequences of the Liberal government’s proposed emissions reduction target on Canada’s critical fertilizer industry and on farmers and ranchers in general:
Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau, MP
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
1341 Baseline Road
Ottawa Ontario K1A 0C5
November 30, 2021
Dear Minister Bibeau,
I am writing to you to highlight the disastrous consequences of your government’s proposed emissions reduction target on Canada’s critical fertilizer industry and on farmers and ranchers in general.
Farmers in Lakeland are very concerned that your government does not understand the impacts of your government’s December 2020 decision to set emissions reductions targets from fertilizers at 30% below 2020 levels.
A recent report by Meyers Norris Penny (MNP) highlights the consequences that your emissions reduction target and notes the majority of the proposed reduction would not come through more efficient use of fertilizer, but that “the majority of the reduction will have to come from Canadian farmers reducing their fertilizer usage, especially with respect to nitrogen.” The MNP report only details canola, corn, and spring wheat, but forecasts a loss of production of $48.36 billion over eight crop years leading to 2030. This loss is projected to significantly impact the availability of Canadian crops in the domestic agri-food economy, and will have a massive impact on Canada’s contributions to the global food supply.
Take canola growth, for example. In the early 2000’s, the five-year average bushel yield per acre was 25.3. That increased up to a 5-year average of 41 bushels per acre – but is anticipated to be down in 2021 to an average of 29.2 bushels per acre, a 30% drop, due to the drought conditions in the prairies this year. The MNP report forecasts a yield gap of 23.6 bushels per acre per year by 2030, dropping canola yield below even the current 5-year average to fewer than 35 bushels per acre. Canada is the world’s top canola exporter, exporting $11.9 billion in canola and canola products in the 2020 calendar year – with 28% of total canola production coming from Alberta.
In your government’s A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy plan, you promised to work with manufacturers, farmers, provinces, and territories. But you have actually taken a paternalistic, ideology-driven approach that has set arbitrary emissions targets without any real understanding of the real, tangible consequences for Canadians of these theoretical targets. As Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, it is your responsibility to ensure the needs of farmers are met, and to protect and support Canadian agriculture, regardless of the actions of your government’s Environment minister.
After back-to-back-to-back years of agriculture disasters in Lakeland, the last thing farmers in my riding, and across the country, need is another disaster – this one imposed by government – that will massively reduce their crop yield, drive them further into debt, and limit how much they can grow.
Farmers feed cities. I call on you to use your position as Minister to ensure that any plan implemented by your government puts forward maintains the future productivity of major crops, so Canadian farmers can continue to feed Canadians, and the world.
Canadian farmers anxiously await your response.
Shannon Stubbs, MP
CC: Hon. Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
CC: John Barlow, Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Agri-Food and Food Security