Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada launches new Agricultural Methane Reduction Challenge

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Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Reducing methane emissions requires new and innovative ideas, including in the agriculture sector. It is a key part of the Government of Canada’s plan to tackle climate change and mitigate the impact on farmers, who are experiencing more frequent wildfires, severe storms and increased drought.

Today, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Francis Drouin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced the launch of the new Agricultural Methane Reduction Challenge. Through this initiative, up to $12 million will be awarded to innovators advancing low-cost and scalable practices, processes, and technologies designed to reduce methane emissions produced by cattle.

The Agricultural Methane Reduction Challenge builds on the successes of existing industry commitments on the environment. Livestock producers and industry groups are setting voluntary targets and goals to reduce emissions and these commitments are already seeing results. For example, the Canadian Beef Advisors has a 2030 goal of reducing emission intensity from primary beef production by 33 per cent, while the Dairy Farmers of Canada have set a goal to reach net-zero by 2050. This Challenge has been designed in collaboration with the sector to accelerate these successes, spur innovation and reduce emissions.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada invites all those with innovative solutions to reduce methane emissions produced by cattle to apply.

Quotes

“Canadian farmers and ranchers are stewards of the most sustainable cattle in the world, and are continually doing more to meet the global demand for our world-class products. By partnering with the sector, we can move further and faster to reduce agricultural methane emissions, and the new Agricultural Methane Reduction Challenge will help the sector continue to grow, while contributing to Canada’s 2030 methane reduction goals.”

– The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“At the forefront of agricultural sustainability, our cattle industry in Canada are setting global benchmarks. The new Agricultural Methane Reduction Challenge will drive further innovation in the sector to help fulfill a growing demand from consumers who are asking for Canadian sustainable beef and dairy industries.

– Francis Drouin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Canadian beef producers are global leaders in environmental stewardship and have half the world average of greenhouse gas emissions per pound of beef. The new Agricultural Methane Reduction Challenge is well aligned with our beef sector’s 2030 goals and we look forward to continuing to work with government to find innovations to help further reduce beef cattle’s emissions intensity.”

– Nathan Phinney, President, Canadian Cattle Association

“Dairy farmers’ progress in terms of reducing our carbon footprint is in large part because farmers embrace innovation and research. They do not shy away from applying new technologies and progressive ideas on their farms in order to improve their production and to protect the land and the environment. The Challenge announced today will add to our toolbox and help us on our journey towards reaching net zero 2050.”

– David Wiens, President, Dairy Farmers of Canada

Quick facts

  • The Agricultural Methane Reduction Challenge is the first challenge of its kind – designed to advance innovative, low-cost and scalable practices and technologies that contribute to the reduction of methane emissions from cattle and livestock.
  • An independent and voluntary external review panel composed of subject matter experts (for example, producers, ranchers, representatives of private sector, stakeholder groups, academia) will assist in the assessment of applications.
  • The Challenge will use a phased approach to move innovators through the process of developing and deploying their solutions. At each stage of the Challenge, the external review panel will determine which applicants move to the following stage and receive funding. There are up to 20 prizes of up to $250,000 open to all eligible applicants participating in stage 1 and up to 10 prizes of up to $500,000 open to all semi-finalists participating in stage 2. At the last stage, two winners will be awarded a grand prize of up to $1 million each. All semi-finalists and finalists will also benefit from non-financial support such as mentorship and training opportunities.. Applications will be accepted until February 7, 2024.
  • The Challenge builds on the Government of Canada’s actions to reduce methane emissions through Canada’s Methane Strategy, in support of the Global Methane Pledge, 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, and the Sustainable Agriculture Strategy.
  • Funds will be awarded to those advancing solutions in the cow-calf, dairy and feedlot sectors.
  • In 2021, agriculture was responsible for 31 per cent of Canada’s total methane emissions, the majority coming from enteric fermentation produced by beef and dairy cattle.
  • Canadian herds are also responsible for preserving approximately 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon in Canadian soil, and protecting over 60 endangered species who live in the wild grasslands where they graze.
  • With over 11 million cattle and calves on 72,275 farms and ranches – Canada is one of the largest exporters of sustainable cattle in the world.