Sustainability at the forefront in proposed Responsible Grain code of practise

·2 min read

A code of practise is in the works for Canadian grain growers.

Developed by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops (CRSC) with a vast range of industry sources and organizations providing input and expertise, the voluntary code of conduct aims to create a standard for how grain farmers across Canada grow their food and manage their land by the end of 2021.

The draft code of practise is available online and available for farmer feedback until the end of February 2021.

The idea of a code of responsible practises is not to create more work for farmers, says Ted Menzies, development committee chair.

Rather it’s to let the public know what grain farmers across the country are already doing to practise sustainable farming methods and to produce safe food.

“A lot of the fundamentals introduced in the code of practise are already requirements,” Menzies said of legislation at various levels of government. “We’re not trying to rebuild anything, we’re trying to use things already in place.”

He emphasized that farmers won’t have additional paperwork or have to give up things like environmental plans which have already been implemented.

The code calls for actions like reducing the amount of passes farm equipment makes over a field for tilling, resulting in lower vehicle emissions; installing back-flow valves for irrigation to prevent fertilizer contamination in water sources; and using buffer zones during pesticide applications — to name some.

Menzies hopes the code and label will catch on with the industry and become the standard for grain grown in Canada and bought at home and abroad.

Once Responsible Grain comes into being, the CRSC will look to the Canadian Agriculture Census, conducted every five years by Stats Canada, to see what practises farmers are self-reporting and gauge changes and farmer uptake.

The CRSC wants to hear from farmers for feedback on what will and won’t work on farms, before a finalized version is released between May and December 2021.

Grain farmers interested in providing input can review a draft code of practise at https://responsiblegrain.ca/modules/ and sign up for one of three dates in January to get provide feedback by visiting https://responsiblegrain.ca/contact/.

Jordan Snobelen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara this Week