The Canadian government is launching a new climate plan for the country’s agriculture sector, the government says in a news release on March 18. The new Agricultural Climate Solutions (ACS) program received an investment of $185 million over the next 10 years.
“Our government is working in partnership with farmers to develop and deploy the best practices that will fight climate change, protect our lands and waters, and deliver important economic benefits to farmers,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food, says in the release.
The release notes farmers are on the front lines of climate change and the best way to build climate resiliency is by developing solution which are tailored for each region, led by farmers and farm groups.
The aim of the ACS program is develop a strong, Canada-wide network of regional collaborations led by farmers and including scientists and other sectoral stakeholders, the release says. Together these groups will develop and share management practices which best store carbon and mitigate climate change.
“This program allows researchers, farmers and other groups to work closely together and test their ideas on farm to evaluate them in real-world circumstances to achieve meaningful results,” Mary Robinson, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, says in the release.
To be eligible for the ACS program, applicants must form a large network of partnerships within a province, including with agricultural non-profits, Indigenous organizations and environmental groups, the release notes.
The program will proceed in two phases. The first phase, which will launch April 1, aims to support the development of proposals focused on regional collaboration hubs, also known as “Living Labs”, by offering grants of up to $100,000, the release says.
The aim is for every province in Canada to have at least one collaboration hub. Each hub will centre on farms, where farmers and researchers can co-develop best practices, including cover crops, intercropping, conversion of marginal land to permanent cover, shelterbelts, nutrient management, and inclusion of pulses in rotations. Applicants will need to demonstrate their ability to engage with researchers and develop plans for knowledge transfer and adoption among their peers. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will host regional information sessions over the coming weeks.
The program’s second phase will open as early as fall 2021, the release noetes. At this stage, applicant groups can submit their applications for funding support of up to $10 million per project.