Federal government invests in green agriculture

(Edmonton) Canadian farmers will have the opportunity to increase their profits while mitigating their impact on the environment with the support of federal government.

On May 23, Laurie Hawn, member of parliament (Edmonton-Centre), announced an investment of nearly $600,000 to the University of Alberta to study greenhouse gas mitigation in agroforestry systems.

The U of A will use the investment to measure the amount of carbon that can be stored and the amount of greenhouse gas reduced with the use of agroforestry systems. Agroforestry provides opportunities to integrate productivity and profitability with environmental stewardship. Results of this research may lead to new diversified farm income and new employment opportunities through the development of bio-based products. These may include renewable bio-energy products (biomass), pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.

“Environmental research is a strength and a priority at the University of Alberta,” said Lorne Babiuk, U of A vice-president (research). “Our researchers are conducting innovative research that is providing solutions to some of the most pressing issues the world faces today, including environmental issues. It is very gratifying for us to receive strong support on this project from the federal government as we continue to partner in ways that improve the quality of life for all Canadians.”

Scott Chang, researcher in the Department of Renewable Resources, says this project will enhance the understanding and accessibility of beneficial management practices that can be adopted by farmers to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

“If the beneficial roles of agroforestry systems are demonstrated, opportunities exist to tie the beneficial management practices to economic gains for producers, for example, through payments for carbon offsets,” he said.

This project is supported through the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program, a five-year, $27-million initiative that focuses on the development of on-farm greenhouse gas mitigation technologies. The AGGP is Canada’s initial contribution to the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, an international network of more than 30 member countries that coordinates and increases agricultural research on greenhouse gas mitigation and makes new mitigation technologies and beneficial management practices available to farmers.