Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) have released their Road to 2050 policy recommendations to help shape federal programs while making farming more profitable and sustainable.

Chair Andre Harpe says the launch comes as we face the urgent need to feed more people, tackle climate change, and keep grain farms profitable.

"Canadian grain growers are leading with innovative sustainable practices. These efforts not only reduce our carbon footprint but also play a crucial role in achieving Canada's climate goals."

Over the past two decades, the grain sector has achieved considerable strides in environmental sustainability by maintaining stable greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while increasing production. 

The GGC points out this has resulted in a 50% reduction in GHG emission intensity from 1997 to 2017 in the agriculture sector, surpassing the 36% reduction across the Canadian economy during the same timeframe.

With a $30 billion contribution to Canada’s GDP, the grain sector recognizes the necessity of continuous innovation and investment to sustain production.

The Road to 2050 policy recommendations include increasing public and private breeding research, expanding eligibility criteria and funding for current climate programs, and developing a data management strategy.

Harpe and the group's Executive Director Kyle Larkin were in Ottawa this week with farmers from coast to coast meeting with politicians from all political stripes to review their recommendations.

Larkin says a key recommendation focuses on the importance of plant breeding to improve production and profitability, while making farming more sustainable.

"We have to have the most innovative varieties for our grain farmers so we can remain competitive internationally, but it also helps on the reduction of emissions. If we can create nitrogen-fixing wheat, nitrogen-fixing canola, or we can have more varieties that are drought resistant, that will help us on our emissions reduction piece of thing. It will allow farmers to use less inputs that allow them to be more profitable but also reduce emissions at the same time."

Along with that, Larkin says, we need to see a return of public sector funding for plant breeding innovation, and government's help in attracting private sector investment.

Another key recommendation focuses on changes to the 'accelerated capital cost allowance' to help producers access new equipment and technology.

As an example, Larkin points out that the combine that you can buy today is one hundred times more efficient than the combine you bought 30 years ago, but they're not cheap they're $500,000 -  $1,000,000 plus.

" One of the tools that grain farmers have used, at least over the past five years, is accelerated capital cost allowance. They've been able to depreciate their assets at a rate of 45%, unfortunately, that's winding down from now into 2027. We want to see that still at 45%, but we also want to see an update there."

He says the GGC would like to see something similar to the United States where they've had a similar bonus depreciation but its been at 100 per cent over the past five years.

You can review all ten recommendations here.            

To hear Glenda-Lee's conversation with Grain Growers of Canada Kyle Larkin click on the link below