Federal government’s plan to cut fertilizer emissions by 30% by 2030 must remain voluntary for Canadian agri-businesses

Toronto, August 4, 2022 – The federal government must ensure it does not mandate Canadian agri-businesses to reduce the use of their nitrogen fertilizer in the future, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Nearly three-quarters (72%) of farmers said the yield of their crops and overall food production will be reduced if the federal government required them to reduce their use of nitrogen fertilizer, according to a recent CFIB survey.

The federal government is currently conducting consultations on its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from nitrogen fertilizer by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. CFIB is urging the government not to mandate a reduction in the use of nitrogen fertilizer.

“Right now, the emissions reduction target is voluntary, and it should stay that way,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB. “Requiring Canadian agri-businesses to reduce their use of nitrogen fertilizer would add another hurdle and have negative impacts on the industry that is already hard hit by skyrocketing input costs and supply chain delays.”

CFIB’s latest Business Barometer data shows the agriculture sector has the lowest short-term (3 months) and long-term (12 months) outlook of any industry across Canada.

Almost two-thirds (60%) of businesses said a mandatory reduction would decrease the profitability of their agri-business, and 42% said it would be challenging as they have already reduced their nitrogen fertilizer use.

CFIB’s recent research also shows Canadian farmers have already adopted or plan to adopt best practices to manage or reduce nitrogen emissions. Some of these practices include conservation tillage (53%), annual soil testing for nitrogen (50%), and rotating in nitrogen-fixing crops (50%).

“Nitrogen fertilizer is an essential crop nutrient and an important input for Canadian farmers. Forcing them to reduce their use of fertilizer would result in decreased yield of their crop, less profitability and competitiveness. Given the current global challenges to food supply, now is not the time to add policies that threaten to reduce yields even further” said Taylor Brown, a policy analyst at CFIB. “The federal government should give farmers more autonomy and provide support if they want to voluntarily improve their nitrogen management and adopt better practices.”

CFIB has sent a submission letter on the fertilizer emissions reduction target to the federal government urging it to keep its target voluntary. Read the full letter here.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, CFIB

Best practices agri-businesses have taken or plan to take to manage and/or reduce its nitrogen fertilizer emissions – CFIB Agriculture Survey on Fertilizer Emissions Reduction Plan, an online survey conducted with CFIB members between April 14 - April 29, 2022. The data referenced is based on 472 responses. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of ±4.5%, 19 times out of 20.

Impacts of nitrogen fertilizer use reduction on agri-businesses – CFIB Agriculture Survey, an online survey conducted with CFIB members between Oct. 25 - Nov. 30, 2021. The data referenced is based on 361 responses. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of ±5.2%, 19 times out of 20.

Business Barometer®: July findings are based on 734 responses from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received from July 5 to 13. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.6%, 19 times in 20. Every new month, the entire series of indicators is recalculated for the previous month to include all survey responses received in that previous month.

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 95,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.