The Canadian government is helping farmers and agri-businesses adopt clean technologies to reduce carbon emissions as part of the new Agricultural Clean Technology Program.
During Canadian Environment Week, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced details of the new $165.7-million Agricultural Clean Technology Program.
Under the program, farmers and agri-businesses will have access to funding to help develop and adopt the latest clean technologies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and enhance their competitiveness. This funding will help them continue to move towards a low-carbon economy by focusing on three priority areas: green energy and energy efficiency; precision agriculture; and the bioeconomy.
The new program has two funding streams
The Adoption Stream will support the adoption of clean technologies, with a priority on those that meaningfully reduce GHG emissions. Eligible recipients will have access to non-repayable contributions for projects that are at least $50,000 in total cost. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will contribute up to 50% for projects with for-profit recipients and up to 75% for not-for-profit recipients. This funding stream will extend over five years, from 2021 to 2026, and will allocate $50 million specifically for the purchase of more efficient grain dryers for farmers across Canada and $10 million towards powering farms with clean energy and moving off diesel.
The Research and Innovation Stream will support pre-market innovation including research, development, demonstration and commercialization of agricultural clean technologies. Eligible recipients will have access to non-repayable and repayable contributions of up to $2 million for projects, normally cost-shared 50-50 with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. This funding stream will extend over seven years, from 2021 to 2028.
The two-step intake of applications will launch later this month. Eligible recipients for both streams include for-profit organizations, not-for-profit organizations and Indigenous groups.
“Canadian farmers have always taken care of their land, and that is why we are leaders in sustainable agriculture,” Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said.
“In the face of this new climate reality and the expectations of Canadian and foreign consumers who want to know that their food has been sustainably produced, we must double down on our efforts, particularly by investing in the development and adoption of energy-efficient technologies. Together, we will grow our agricultural sector in an even more sustainable way.”
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada estimates that this program has the potential to reduce up to 1 megaton of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide equivalent) from the Earth’s atmosphere.
The Government of Canada’s strengthened climate plan supports the development and adoption of cleaner practices and technologies that further reduce GHG emissions and protect the land, water and air that farmers depend on for their long-term sustainability.
“Canadian farmers, ranchers and agri-food businesses are constantly innovating to make their practices greener and more sustainable. Investing in continuously helping the sector adopt clean technologies to cut greenhouse gas emissions is a key part of our plan to build a healthy environment and a healthy economy for all,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
Canada’s agricultural industry is already making contributions in the fight against climate change, as farmers and agri-businesses continue to make their operations more sustainable. Thanks to innovative best practices and technologies, agricultural production in Canada has doubled over the last 22 years while emissions have remained relatively stable.
This program builds on the original Agricultural Clean Technology Program, a $25-million, three-year (2018-2021) investment to support research, development and adoption of clean technologies.
The new Agricultural Clean Technology Program is part of the government’s strengthened climate plan, A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, which is a key pillar in the government’s commitment to create over one million jobs, restoring employment to pre-pandemic levels. The climate plan includes 64 new measures and $15 billion in investments in addition to the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s $6 billion for clean infrastructure announced as part of its growth plan.
As part of this climate plan, the Government of Canada launched the $185 million, 10-year Agricultural Climate Solutions (ACS), to help develop and implement farming practices to sequester carbon and tackle greenhouse gas emissions. Budget 2021 committed an additional $200 million to support the adoption of practices that will accelerate emission reductions in the sector.