May 23, 2012, Edmonton, AB – Canadian farmers will have the opportunity to increase their profits while mitigating their impact on the environment with the support of the Harper Government. Member of Parliament Laurie Hawn (Edmonton-Centre), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, announced an investment of nearly $600,000 to the University of Alberta to study greenhouse gas mitigation in agroforestry systems.
“Our Government’s top priority remains creating jobs and long-term economic prosperity for all Canadians,” said MP Hawn. “This investment reinforces our Government’s commitment to providing farmers with tools and knowledge to maximize returns from their land while ensuring the preservation of our environment.”
The University of Alberta will use the investment to measure the amount of carbon that can be stored and the amount of greenhouse gas reduced with the use of agroforestry systems. Agroforestry provides opportunities to integrate productivity and profitability with environmental stewardship. Results of this research may lead to new diversified farm income and new employment opportunities through the development of bio-based products. These may include renewable bio-energy products (biomass), pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.
“Environmental research is a strength and a priority at the University of Alberta,” said Dr. Lorne Babiuk, Vice-President (Research). “Our researchers are conducting innovative research that is providing solutions to some of the most pressing issues the world faces today, including environmental issues. It is very gratifying for us to receive strong support on this project from the federal government as we continue to partner in ways that improve the quality of life for all Canadians.”
“This project will enhance the understanding and accessibility of beneficial management practices (BMPs) that can be adopted by farmers to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in Canada,” said Dr. Scott Chang, professor and researcher, University of Alberta. “If the beneficial roles of agroforestry systems are demonstrated, opportunities exist to tie the BMPs to economic gains for producers, for example, through payments for carbon offsets.”
This project is supported through the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), a five-year, $27-million initiative that focuses on the development of on-farm greenhouse gas mitigation technologies. The AGGP will provide funding to various partners across Canada to investigate innovative mechanisms, tools, and approaches that provide real solutions for the agriculture sector.
The AGGP is Canada’s initial contribution to the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, an international network of more than 30 member countries that coordinates and increases agricultural research on greenhouse gas mitigation and makes new mitigation technologies and beneficial management practices available to farmers.
For more information on the Global Research Alliance, visit http://www.globalresearchalliance.org.