Federal Agriculture Minister Marie Claude Bibeau announced $54 million on Thursday for the creation of nine new living labs to reduce greenhouse gases.

Speaking in Calgary, Bibeau says one of the living lab programs will be in Alberta.

"We're investing over $16 million to support our two lead agencies, Alberta Beef Producers, and the Alberta Conservation Association in partnership with Food Water Wellness. These projects will focus on key areas such as improving carbon storage through cropping systems, and herd and nutrient management."

Melanie Wowk, Chair of the Alberta Beef Producers says the five year living lab program will benefit the provinces beef, forage, and cropping sectors.

"It will target six key areas, those being crop rotations and cropping systems, land use changes, grazing management, livestock feeding, nutrient management and increasing carbon storage on the whole farm. Identifying financial and non financial barriers faced by producers adopting these beneficial management practices will also be a priority."

Kim Cornish with Alberta's Food Water Wellness Foundation says they believe the implementation and validation of best management practices on land managed by agricultural producers can make a significant contribution to meeting Canada's climate commitments

"Through the use of predictive soil mapping, we'll be able to understand the outcomes of the implementation of multiple best management practices, in a way best suited to allow producers to meet their individual production and environmental goals, while being appropriate for their growing conditions. "

Bibeau notes the living lab project in BC with the Forage Seed Association will work with producers in the Peace River region to improve carbon storage and reduce emissions.

"For generations, Canadian farmers and researchers have been finding new ways to protect natural resources while making production practices more efficient. By working together, they are creating innovative research-based solutions that can be applied to real-world challenges on the farm. Our efforts are accelerating the sector's ability to respond to climate change, all while working to ensure global food security."

Thursday's announcement also marked the first Indigenous-led living lab by the Mistawasis Nêhiyawak and Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan.

The 4.8 Million Bridge to Land Water Sky project will see producers and First Nations work towards a common goal of improving the environment while committing to the protection of Indigenous values, treaties, communities, lands and resources.

Saskatchewan's South of the Divide Conservation Action Program will receive $8 Million to focus on developing agricultural climate solutions for the Prairie ecoregions. 

That project will focus on four key areas: avoiding land use conversion; adaptive grazing management; restoring and enhancing perennial plant communities; and livestock grazing of diverse annual cover crops.

Ottawa is working towards a goal of having at least one living lab in each province, with details on the next set of projects to be announced in the coming months.

Thursday's announcement of nine new living labs incluin British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Announced in 2021, Agricultural Climate Solutions (ACS) – Living Labs is a $185-million, 10-year program that is helping to develop and implement farming practices such as nutrient management, shelterbelts and cover crops to sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gases.