"Green" Report Card for Western Canadian Crops
 
Winnipeg, Manitoba – December 1, 2011 Growing grain in Western Canada is getting “greener”. A new sustainable agriculture report, released today at the GrowCanada Conference 2011 in Winnipeg, shows that Western Canadian farmers are producing more grain with less impact on the environment.
 
“This report highlights some of the great accomplishments of Canadian agriculture in using technology and innovation to make a measurable difference in improving the nutritional and environmental well-being of Canadians and people around the world,” says Gordon Bacon, CEO of Pulse Canada.
 
The Sustainable Agriculture Metrics for Western Canadian Field Crops project looked at two decades of progress on sustainability indicators including land use, soil loss, energy use and climate impact. It followed a similar approach developed by Field to Market, the Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture in the U.S. but was tailored to fit with Western Canadian geography and climatic conditions, as well as the data available in Canada.
 
"Western Canadian farmers are among the best in the world in following sustainable agricultural principles and practices in their field cropping systems,” says Ian White, President and CEO of the Canadian Wheat Board. “For customers trying to reduce the environmental footprint of their food products, Canadian grain is a great choice.”
 
The improvements shown in every sustainability indicator, for every crop, are largely driven by the broad adoption of reduced tillage, crop rotation management, improved nutrient management and variety development, which together have resulted in improved yield performance and a softened environmental footprint.
 
“Farmers naturally innovate to farming practices that build a long-term sustainable future for their farm,” says Rick White, General Manager at the Canadian Canola Growers Association. “The project findings are evidence that environmental sustainability goes hand in hand with economic sustainability on Western Canadian farms.”
 
“Farms produce much more than food, fuel and fibre,” says Paul Thoroughgood, Regional Agrologist with Ducks Unlimited Canada. “Decisions made when producing crops influence water quantity and quality, habitat availability for wildlife and other ecological values Canadians often take for granted. Increasing productivity on land currently under production is one way the agricultural industry can reduce the pressure to convert what’s left of the rapidly dwindling habitat to cropland.”
 
The project looked at eight different crops including wheat, oats, lentils, canola, peas and flax. The Canadian Field to Market Sustainability Project was supported by Pulse Canada, Canadian Wheat Board, Canadian Canola Growers Association, General Mills, Flax Council of Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada.
 
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Contacts:
Denis Trémorin - Manager, Sustainable Production Pulse Canada Tel. 204.925.3781 dtremorin@pulsecanada.com
Maureen Fitzhenry - CWB Media Relations Manager Canadian Wheat Board Tel. 204.983.3101 maureen_fitzhenry@cwb.ca
Cheryl Mayer - Director, Agriculture Policy Development Canadian Canola Growers Association Tel. 204.789.8815 cherylm@ccga.ca
Tom Rabaey - Research Agronomist Sustainable Agriculture General Mills Agriculture Research Tel. 507.665.4469 tom.rabey@genmills.com
Paul Thoroughgood - Regional Agrologist – Western Region Ducks Unlimited Canada Tel. 306.569.0424 p_thoroughgood@ducks.ca