Michitsch, R. (Soil & Crop Improvement Association of Nova, Scotia, 20 Tower Road, Truro, NS, B2N 5E3, Canada; Phone: 902-896-7092; Fax: 902-893-0335 Email: michitrc@gov.ns.ca)


Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Practices and Activities in the Eastern Canadian Agri-Food Sector


R. Michitsch *, D. Burton, R. Gordon, S. Ellsworth


In Eastern Canada, the agri-food sector plays a particular role in the production of greenhouse gases (GHGs) through its varied activities. The reduction of these emissions (as CO2, CH4 and N2O) is actively being investigated by Atlantic Canadian researchers, given Canada’s commitment to reduce such emissions as mandated by adoption of the Kyoto Protocol. The potential to mitigate GHGs from the agri-food sector is achievable through increased farm-level awareness and the adoption of beneficial management practices (BMPs) related to soil, nutrient-management, animal and cropping practices. Sustaining the economic viability of the farm and other environmental benefits beyond GHG mitigation are priorities, to both foster adoption of BMPs and create a sustainable relationship with nature. In 2003, the Canadian federal government established the Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program (GHGMP). This program is co-ordinate in parts of Eastern Canada by the Soil & Crop Improvement Association of Nova Scotia (SCIANS) under the supervision of the Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC). A producer-based organization, SCIANS functions to support the improvement of soils and crops through the adoption of BMPs, to ensure the competitiveness of the Nova Scotia agri-food industry and to conduct farm-level research for the betterment of the Nova Scotia farming community. Areas of focus for on-farm demonstrations cover the following areas: management of nitrogen fertilization and soil nitrogen testing; reduced tillage systems and technologies; timing of manure application; and manure application techniques. Additional topics encompass manure storage techniques, bio-gas production through the anaerobic digestion of manure, feeding strategies, constructed wetlands and composting systems. Education and outreach are priorities of this demonstration program. Several projects have been in co-operation with other organizations, such as Horticulture Nova Scotia (HortNS), the Atlantic Swine Research Partnership (ASRP), the Eastern Canada Soil and Water Conservation Centre (ECSWCC) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). Overall, a network of information sharing has been established, which benefits all stakeholders. This allows for the convenient and timely dissemination of knowledge to Atlantic Canadian producers for both short and long-term mitigation of greenhouse gases.