When it comes to nutrient use in their fields, Manitoba farmers will be able to continue following best practices for the next several years, the province said Thursday.
Manitoba agriculture minister Derek Johnson announced the province, along with Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) and Fertilizer Canada have signed on to a fourth memorandum of understanding regarding the 4R Nutrient Stewardship framework.
The framework, established by Fertilizer Canada, outlines principles regarding a variety of different climate, soil, cropping and operational conditions — with the goal of environmental and economic sustainability.
Johnson called balancing crop production with environmental protections “critical” to the future of Manitoba’s agriculture sector.
“Manitoba farmers are great stewards of the land in their use of sustainable practices and work every day to feed the world and contribute to agricultural sector employment while protecting the environment,” he said in a statement Thursday.
“Farmers continue to recognize the responsible use and application of nutrients in their operations is fundamental to their ability to put affordable and healthy food on plates across the globe.”
Fertilizer Canada’s Daniel Demers said the agreement is a way to ensure producers can adopt green measures without fearing the impact those measures may have on their bottom lines.
“A producer once said, ‘I can’t be green if I’m operating in the red,'” Demers said.
“This is a way of transferring knowledge to make sure we can continue to produce, but also at the same time reduce the amount of inputs — the costs that farmers will have, etc. — but also move forward on protecting the environment.”
The new agreement runs through the end of 2024, and an implementation committee — including staff from Manitoba agriculture, climate and parks departments — will soon get to work establishing a budget and helping farmers access the materials.