Today, Canada’s Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit announced $3.2 million in funding for research on carbon sequestration in perennial forage and pastures.
The funding was approved under the Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) which advances research to address complex challenges faced by the agriculture and agri-food sectors.
“Carbon sequestration is important to help mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Bibeau. “This research will improve our understanding of the best practices for managing our grazing systems, and ensure producers will be well-positioned to further contribute to the sector’s long-term sustainability.”
The project, jointly undertaken by Dr. Angela Bedard-Haughn of the University of Saskatchewan and Dr. Cameron Carlyle of the University of Alberta over the next five years, will examine soil carbon stocks in perennial forage systems across Saskatchewan, and investigate the link between producer management practices and carbon stores to identify practices that promote carbon sequestration. One of the outcomes of the project will be maps providing an accurate estimate of carbon in Saskatchewan’s pasture and rangelands.
“Our agriculture industry is grounded in best practices, and this project will add to it by confirming how we can mitigate climate change by managing our grazing systems,” Marit said. “This is the kind of ag-related research we continually encourage and prioritize in Saskatchewan to keep our producers competitive, sustainable and working toward a future we can count on.”
The application included 11 letters of support from different industry organizations, which reflects the importance of this work to the provincial agriculture sector, and the project is co-funded by the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association which contributed $100,000 to the total amount and a $25,000 in-kind commitment.
“The carbon economy must be built on a credible foundation,” Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association Chair Arnold Balicki said. “Despite a lot of activity, there still needs to be this baseline building on hay and grassland. This should help cattle producers credibly participate in whatever the carbon opportunity is. Meanwhile cattle producers will continue managing their land for productivity along with the biodiversity and carbon sequestration that are intrinsic to grazing cattle.”
“Creative, collaborative and co-operative research is how our institution strives to deliver long-term benefits and resources for Saskatchewan’s agriculture sectors,” University of Saskatchewan Vice-President of Research Baljit Singh said. “This project will contribute significantly to our understanding of a complex issue. A better understanding leads to better decision making and practices within the industry. Ultimately, that is the kind of discovery the world needs.”
The SRI is funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada’s agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors. This includes a $2 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories, including a $388-million investment in strategic initiatives for Saskatchewan agriculture.
Details on the SRI can be found at https://www.saskatchewan.ca/business/agriculture-natural-resources-and-industry/agribusiness-farmers-and-ranchers/canadian-agricultural-partnership-cap/science-research-and-innovation/strategic-research-initiative.
Article and Information from www.saskatchewan.ca