The Conservative Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Agri-Food and Food Security has been busy criss-crossing the country meeting with producers.

John Barlow says he's been trying to hit every province and this week they're in Atlantic Canada speaking to producers.

He says a key topic of concern everywhere is the Liberal's Fertilizer Reduction policy.

"Certainly with what is occurring in the Netherlands and Sir Lanka, Canadians are starting to pay attention to this. Certainly Canadian farmers are paying attention to this and are frustrated with a policy and a number that was not based on really any consultation, or any sound science. The public consultation ends on August 31. But it's very clear from comments from the Minister of Agriculture Bibeau and Liberal MP Lloyd Longfield's column in the Sunday newspapers that they've already made up their mind. The public consultation is just a farce, they are going to move ahead with this 30% reduction in fertilizer use."

Barlow notes this is something that's gonna impact impact not only every single producer, no matter what commodity you grow in Canada, but it's also going to impact every single consumer. If you eat, you will be impacted, as this will certainly increase grocery prices. 

Minister Bibeau has stressed that it's voluntary and focuses on reducing fertilizer emissions, not on reducing fertilizer itself.

Barlow says it is syntax and semantics you can't reduce emissions unless you reduce fertilizer use.

"They're in trouble, they realize that this is a policy that is not going over well, certainly with Canadian farmers, but consumers are going to start to feel this as well. They are trying to spin their way out of this, but there's no alternatives. The most frustrating thing I think for for producers, and certainly what I've been hearing is, it takes no consideration into some of the modern procedures and protocols that are already happening in terms of 4R steward, nutrient stewardship, variable rates, zero till. Farmers hire an agrologist to ensure that they are being as efficient as possible. Farming is a business, they want to be efficient, and their input costs are already a huge cost, they're not just throwing fertilizer wherever."

He notes farmers have been reducing fertilizer use for many years, while still improving production.

"Not a lot of industries can say that. So to try and spin this without giving farmers any credit for the great work that they're already doing, I think is where the frustration lies."

Barlow says an MNP study shows the 30 per cent reduction in fertilizer will cost our economy about $48 billion by 2030. 

"A 30 per cent reduction in fertilizer means losses in productivity. By 2030, yield gaps are estimated at 23.6 bushels per acre per year for canola, 67.9 bushels per acre for corn, and 36.1 per acre bushels per acre for spring wheat. This estimated loss of food production not only worsens the global food crisis but jeopardizes our self-sustainability to feed our own nation."

He adds lower yields mean fewer commodities resulting in much higher food costs.

"Liberal spending has already led to record inflation including food prices up almost 10 per cent since June. The fertilizer reduction will exasperate inflation and food prices will continue to increase for Canadian families already struggling to put food on the table."