Not only do dairy farmers produce safe, nutritious food, but they continue to do so in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable way that benefits Canadians.
Results show that dairy farmers have reduced their carbon footprint by 7% and water consumption by 5%. In fact, dairy producers are paving the way in sustainability. Across the country, Canadian dairy farmers are implementing sustainable practices on their farms from generating renewable energy to implementing practices to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
What Farmers are Doing
Environmental Farm Plans
Environmental Farm Plans (EFP) can be implemented on farms that seek to improve water quality and nutrient management. In many cases, especially in BC, an EFP can make farmers aware of the nutrient densities of their soils, of sensitive fish habitats, and can promote water quality.
Farmers may also implement the 4Rs of Environmental Stewardship in order to ensure that a balanced mixture of fertilizers and manures are applied to each field during the right season. This may involve:
- the Right Source
- the Right Rate
- the Right Time
- the Right Place
Because every field is different, Crop Advisors or Agrologists can produce a nutrient management plan together with the farmer to show how crops can grow differently in certain soils and may require a different nutrient plan.
Programs such as Cleanfarms are beginning to look at each province to promote and implement recycling for farm plastics. On-farm plastics, such as grain totes or plastic containers can be recycled to create new materials!
With high energy costs to run a farm, some are turning to renewable energy. This may include anaerobic digesters, which involves turning organic matter such as manure or food waste into a methane-rich gas (biogas). Biogas is carbon neutral and can produce heat and electricity!