Federal Government Climate Programs Announced

Natural Climate Solutions programs for remote, rural, urban and suburban projects that plant trees, increase biodiversity and preserve or restore natural ecosystems.

Late in 2020 the Federal government released the new Healthy Environment, Healthy Economy plan followed by several spending announcements that had implications for municipalities and farmers. Yesterday a series of program announcements from the Feds have added some clarity around what is on offer.

Don’t let the names fool you or discourage you. Growing Canada’s Forests includes tree planting initiatives that plant in urban, and suburban locations so conceivably could be on farm shelterbelts. Next step would be for a Letter of Interest to be submitted by March 25 or May 27 by an association, municipality or a combination of partners.

Agriculture Climate Solutions has some interesting assertions that “protecting biodiversity for sustainable farms” will result in “a larger number of plant species (which) means a greater variety of crops and diversified farm income”. (Hmmmm… that might take some spin).

An interesting part of the Agriculture Climate Solutions is the Living Labs Initiative that is expanded so perhaps can be leveraged to provide agriculture research and extension activities in Alberta. The goal of the labs is to “accelerate the development and adoption of sustainable practices and technologies by Canadian farmers.”. Innovative idea is to connect Federal researchers with a network of farmers to explore sustainable agriculture ideas/technology through on farm or site research and demonstration.

Currently there are three operating Living Labs; Quebec, Atlantic (PEI), and Eastern Prairies (Manitoba). With Alberta and Saskatchewan supporting networks of Applied Research and Forage Associations that tackle some of these on farm research/extension projects, perhaps this will provide an opportunity for greater collaboration, or maybe develop some new opportunities.

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