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Liberals unfairly label farmers as polluters, agriculture industry group says

Source: Rawpixel

The head of one of Ontario’s largest agricultural groups says a recent report from the auditor general proves Ottawa is asking farmers to do the impossible on emissions reduction targets.

Jeff Harrison, president of Grain Farmers of Ontario, minced no words in his criticism, saying Ottawa was being unfair in targeting farmers.

Harrison vehemently criticized the government’s approach, calling it a “smear strategy” aimed at blaming farmers for climate-related challenges. He pointed out that farmers are unfairly being placed on the onus of solving a problem they were not the only ones to create.

“By portraying this climate picture as the fault of agriculture vilifies farmers,” Harrison noted.

“Part of the added stress placed on farmers is being expected to do the impossible. They are expected to solve a problem that they did not necessarily create.

Harrison further expressed his frustration with what he perceived as “unachievable targets and unrealistic targets” imposed on farmers by the government. “To be honest, it pisses me off a bit,” he added.

Harrison’s remarks follow a scathing report from the auditor general, which castigated the federal government for its mismanagement of emissions reduction efforts in the agricultural sector.

The report, titled “Agriculture and Climate Change Mitigation,” examines programs overseen by Agri-Food Canada, with a particular focus on the government’s voluntary 2030 target for farmers to reduce fertilizer emissions by 30 per cent.

The auditor general highlighted several problems, including widespread mismanagement and a lack of transparency.

One of the main concerns raised in the report was the failure to consult stakeholders, such as farmers and industry associations, before setting an arbitrary fertilizer emissions reduction target.

This oversight has caused confusion within the sector, with some interpreting the target as a mandate to reduce fertilizer use by 30%, rather than focusing on reducing emissions through improved application techniques. .

The Grain Farmers of Ontario president’s remarks highlight growing discontent within the farming community with Ottawa’s emissions reduction policies.