The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) took part in a panel discussion last week at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
Director of Policy and International Affairs Fawn Jackson talked about her experience.
"There's a lot of conversations going on here in Glasgow. I think the real key for me is that there is going to be a lot of financing that's coming, that I hope can get down to farmers and ranchers and certainly, we'll be working to do that because everybody is looking for solutions and it's important that we have practical solutions where that financing can go to. I think there's going to be more investments than perhaps we've seen in the past and good for us, that we have a strategy on where to place that."
Jackson says farmers have a big role to play in the fight against climate change.
"One of the points that I made during the panel, Canadian farmers and ranchers who operate on around 40 million acres of grasslands are truly one of the largest, if not the largest conservation organizations in Canada in many ways and so if we can make improvements on those lands that they're managing, making sure that we're not losing further grasslands, that we're able to store that carbon, that we're able to make further reductions in methane emissions through improved practices and through new things such as feed additives. Agriculture really is the solution for the future for the fight against climate change."
On October 11, 2021, the Government of Canada confirmed its support for the Global Methane Pledge.
Canada joined the United States and the European Union, who on September 17, 2021, had launched the global pledge to reduce methane emissions by at least 30 per cent below 2020 levels by 2030 and implementation of related domestic actions.
The Canadian beef industry has half the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint per kilogram of production when compared to the global average.
However, the industry is driving forward with further reductions as outlined in a multi-stakeholder strategy that includes goals and action plans to;
• Reduce primary production GHG emission intensity by 33 per cent by 2030• Sequester an additional 3.4 million tonnes of carbon every year• Safeguard the existing 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon stored on lands managed with beef cattle• Reduce food loss and waste (from secondary processing to consumer) by 50 per cent by 2030
CCA says the key to achieving these goals is an investment in research and extension for the application of the research on farm.
“We were pleased to see the Government’s commitment to supporting Canadian farmers, ranchers and industry partners as we drive towards the implementation of climate change solutions,” said Bob Lowe, President of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. “We need to increase our investments in research and the adoption of research to achieve our shared goals.”
The industry plans to reduce methane emissions through improvements in genetics, forage and feed production and management, and animal health amongst others. Researchers are particularly interested in feed additives, which have shown great potential for methane reductions from cattle in the range of 20 per cent to 70 per cent reductions.