On Nov 29, 2023, Andrew Rushmere with Farmers for Climate Solutions (FCS) presented at the CFGA’s 14th annual conference, Forage Resilience in a Changing Landscape: Manage risk. Overcome challenges. Discover opportunities. His talk, Farmers and ranchers are part of the GHG solution: A farmer-led task force model for change in agriculture, showcased a model to take farmer leadership and climate science and turn it into federal agricultural policy. 

A farmer-led national coalition, FCS is working to scale up low-emissions, high-resilience climate solutions in agriculture. FCS has two approaches to achieve their goals: Farmer-led policy and on-farm solutions. 

Through these approaches, FCS keeps the agriculture sector from getting left behind. Agriculture is very complex with many players and Andrew told attendees that Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada (AAFC) has forecasted it to be the only sector with increasing emissions by 2050. However, FCS sees another path forward. Farmers have solutions they can implement. FCS is working towards the net-zero, low-emissions future scenario of 2050 and major players such as the Grain Growers of Canada and the Dairy Farmers of Canada are getting onboard as well.

FCS’s task force model includes farmers and interdisciplinary experts that work together to develop policy recommendations, ensuring all policy recommendations are backed by science and grounded by on-farm experience. Each task force contains a farmer advisory board who lead and oversee the work, as well as diverse farmer representatives, experts and other advisors such as economists and researchers.

The task forces provide fully costed recommendations to AAFC, such as cost-effective programs that support farmers reduction of GHGs. These recommendations fill a data gap, so rather than arguing what is possible to achieve in agriculture, the work is determining what is necessary. Recommendations must be practical and achievable for farmers and government, as well as having to apply to the whole sector, not just one community or region, said Andrew. 

FCS’s reports allow for complex data to be presented in simple, compelling language that is easy to understand for a government audience, while also being backed up with detailed emission and economic technical reports.

Additional Information 

FaRM Resilience Mentorship Hub 

Minister Bibeau’s 2021 mandate letter announcing supports for farmers adapting to climate change

Conference recordings

If you would like to see all of Andrew’s presentation, you can purchase access to it, and all of the recordings of the 2023 conference proceedings, by visiting the registration page here.

To read more about each speaker, check out the CFGA 2023 Conference agenda.

Note, if you attended the 2023 conference, the recordings are available for free to those who registered for the conference.

For more information, email [email protected]

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