PEI

P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture working to reduce greenhouse gases on farms

The provincial government is trying to reduce greenhouse gases on farms. Right now the industry accounts for 25 per cent of the Island's greenhouse gas emissions.

New program from the provincial government will give money for study

'We're going to be doing a deep dive into what's already out there, there's an awful pile of research that's been done in this area over a number of years,' says Robert Godfrey, executive director of the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture. (Timothy Gallant)

The provincial government is trying to reduce greenhouse gases on farms by launching a project with the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture. Right now the industry accounts for 25 per cent of the Island's greenhouse gas emissions but the hope is to reduce that number by 10,000 tons. 

"We have to work with the agricultural community to ensure that we can meet our targets," said Minister of Communities, Land and Environment Richard Brown. 

The project is a part of the province's climate action plan, which commits to a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005-levels by 2030.

Minister of Communities, Land and Environment Richard Brown, says the goal of the project is to reduce emissions by 10,000 tons from the farming sector. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

It is being run by the federation, and it has hired a consulting firm and professors from Dalhousie University's faculty of agriculture. It has received $98,500 through the federal low carbon economy leadership fund. 

"We're going to be doing a deep dive into what's already out there, there's an awful pile of research that's been done in this area over a number of years," said Robert Godfrey, executive director of the federation. 

Robert Godfrey, executive director of the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture says the program could also find ways to save money for farmers. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

"It's about compiling that together, identifying the gaps and then taking that ... to see how we can raise the bar, continuously raise the bar as we have been in terms of reducing carbon emissions here on Prince Edward Island, but ensuring that farms remain viable into the future."

Work already started

That deep dive has already begun and a final report will be released in March identifying nine best practices. The group will then find farms where those practices can be piloted next summer. After the pilots it would be up to each individual farm to take on any of the suggestions. 

The industry has already been doing some things to reduce greenhouse gases, as the topic has come up a lot at agricultural meetings said federation president David Mol. 

"Various inputs in feeds that reduce some types of methane gases, farm equipment has been getting various fuel upgrades to ... reduce emissions, farmers have been adopting a minimum till or no till practices and providing more cover crops on their land."

But he says this project will be different than anything done on the Island before.

'This is going to be the first time that we're really having a specific, one topic, drill down focus,' says David Mol, president of the federation. (Natalia Goodwin)

"There's been some studies, there's been a session at seminar but this is going to be the first time that we're really having a specific, one topic, drill down focus," he said.

"As a farmer myself I recognize some of these things that are just the right thing to do."

The federation is working on a communications plan for the project so farmers know how to get involved.

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About the Author

Natalia Goodwin

Video Journalist

Natalia is a video journalist in P.E.I. She has also worked for CBC N.L.

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