Day 1 - Keynote: Are net zero emissions achievable?
In response to growing threat of damaging climate change, Canada has adopted a target of reaching 'net zero' by 2050, a challenge that affects all facets of society including agriculture. This reflective presentation will pose several questions: What exactly is 'net-zero' farming? Is it even achievable in Canada? What will be the impact of future system shocks like climate change or pandemics? What would it look like, and what changes might be needed to make meaningful progress toward this target? These questions will be addressed from perspectives of land and of livestock. Food is one of the necessities of life and can not be forgone in an effort to meet net-zero targets. If net zero by 2050 is to be achieved, it will require advancements and adaptation by the global agricultural community and society as a whole.
Day 1 - Achieving net zero with livestock production: what is possible
Anne Mottet - Livestock Development Officer, Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations
The presentation will cover the profile and breakdown of emissions from livestock production systems, the potential to reduce these emissions and to sequester carbon. It will give an overview of the main strategies for climate solutions in the livestock sector. It will also provide some examples of current strategies as implemented in High Income Countries and in Low- and Middle-Income countries, and of their impacts on production and emissions.
Day 1 - The Role of Soil Management in the Path to Net Zero
David Burton - Soil Scientist, Dalhousie Distinguished Research Professor, Director - Dalhousie's Centre for Sustainable Soil Management, Fellow of the Canadian Society of Soil Science.
This presentation will focus on the GHG sources and sinks associated with soil management and the opportunities for soil management to reduce emissions and increase sinks to move to net zero emissions from agricultural soils. While most of my experience is with croplands I would attempt to reflect the potential that carbon sequestration in rangeland soils represents.
Day 1 - Dairy Farming Forward to Net Zero
Korb Whale - 7th Generation Dairy Farmer, Director of Lactanet, Dairy Farmers of Canada and Cornerstone Renewables
This presentation will outline the Canadian Dairy Industries Sustainability goals and our first steps on the path to net zero. How we hope to move forward get buy in, work collectively, and measure and report progress. I have been working actively to bring many Best Management Practices to our farms standard operating procedures and have worked with several researchers to collect data throughout the journey. These are ambitious goals, with major challenges and they will not be easy to achieve. I'm optimistic that by working together, aggregating our data, organizing our efforts, seeking support from an array of partners that we have the best chance of success. Which for me, would be 7 more generations able to produce food from this farm, while supporting our community, our planet and our profit.
Day 2 - HOLOS model workshop
Roland Kroebel – Researcher, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Sarah Pogue - Holos Model Developer, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Aaron McPherson – Software Developer, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Day 2- Red River Metis Agriculture and Food System
Day 2- Building Indigenous Leadership in Agriculture
Kyle Bobiwash - Assistant Professor and Indigenous Scholar, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Manitoba
Identifying historical and structural barriers that have limited participation of Indigenous people in science and agriculture is a responsibility for participants across all scales. Creating long-term strategic priorities and initiatives across the sector to build leadership and innovation in landbased practices all the way to jurisdictional decision-making, that center Indigenous people and principles, will enhance our ability to continue to meet the agricultural challenges of the future.
Day 2- Bridge to Land Water Sky
The Bridge to Land Water Sky is the first Indigenous-led agricultural Living Lab project in Canada. The Bridge is led by Mistawasis Nêhiyawak in collaboration with Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Treaty 6 Territory of Saskatchewan along with partners from the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Land Technicians, North Saskatchewan River Basin Council, Redberry Lake Biosphere Region, University of Saskatchewan, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. This project will co-develop and test nature-based climate solutions with local Indigenous and non-Indigenous producers who farm on First Nations governed agricultural lands for climate change mitigation, but also to strengthen co-benefits, including biodiversity, water quality, and food security. The Bridge to Land Water Sky project will see producers and First Nations work towards a common goal of climate resiliency while committing to the protection of Indigenous values, Treaties, communities, and land, water, sky. In this presentation, we will discuss the Living Lab and the relationship-building that led to the collaboration necessary for its formation.
Day 2- Panel Discussion
Day 3 - Living Labs – A new approach to on-farm innovation in beneficial management practices to tackle climate change
Kevin Anderson - Living Labs Climate Change Lead, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The living labs concept provides a new approach to agricultural innovation in Canada, which brings together farmers, scientists, and other collaborators to co-develop and test innovative management practices and technologies. Through a nation-wide network of living labs, the initiative focuses on innovative solutions to environmental issues related to agriculture, such as climate change, soil health, water quality and biodiversity. The goal of the program is to accelerate the development and adoption of sustainable practices and technologies by Canadian farmers.
This talk will show how the living labs approach is been used at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to develop and deploy natural climate solutions in Canada’s agricultural sector through the Agricultural Climate Solutions program.
Day 3 - Beef Production's Contribution to Biodiversity and Landscape Connectivity
Majid Iravani - Applied Research Scientist, Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, University of Alberta
Habitat degradation due to land conversion is likely the most pervasive impact of intensive beef production on biodiversity. Conversely, it is also widely acknowledged that lands used by grazing cattle maintain a much higher share of native species and connected habitats than any other agricultural land. We assessed these two contrasting impacts of beef production on biodiversity and structural landscape connectivity across the province of Alberta. In this talk, I will present an overview of the integrated biodiversity and landscape connectivity modelling approach implemented. In addition, I will discuss the opportunities and challenges for linking monitoring data to policy-relevant indicators that support the environmental performance of all aspects of the Canadian beef industry at different levels.
Day 3 - Beef and ecosystem services in Canada: an examination of synergies and tradeoffs
Sarah Pogue - Holos Model Developer, AAFC Lethbridge Research and Development Centre
In Canada, beef production operations sit within, and interact with, a broader social, ecological and economic context. Producing enough food to meet demand while also improving the sustainability of these systems requires a comprehensive understanding of the diverse linkages between their different components. In this talk, we will examine these linkages in relation to Canadian beef, considering all agricultural stages of the production cycle – cow-calf, backgrounding, finishing and feed production. This encompasses the relationships between governance and management, social and ecological structures and processes, ecosystem services and the potential effects on human well-being for these systems. We will also examine potential trade-offs and synergies in terms of ecosystem service provision in response to different farm management practices, and the importance of site-specific ecosystem service assessments and environmental stewardship policies that are tailored to different biophysical and socio-economic contexts across Canada.
Day 3 - Birds as Indicators: Representing Impacts in the Agricultural Working Landscape
Ian Cook - Grassland Conservation Manager, Birds Canada
Biodiversity is documented to significantly contribute to agricultural resilience and stability. Birds represent a significant and sensitive component of the biodiversity in the agricultural working landscape and have high utility as biodiversity and ecosystem health indicators. Many species of birds endemic to the Northern Great Plains now rely on an agricultural working landscape and their populations have declined precipitously. For instance, grassland birds and aerial insectivores have each lost nearly 60% of their populations since 1970. Despite the urgent need to address biodiversity loss, biodiversity remains an externality in the Canadian agricultural system. There is a growing need for measuring and communicating biodiversity impacts throughout agricultural supply chains.
This talk will discuss Birds Canada's work with the Bird-friendliness Index, an outcome-based indicator designed to represent and communicate the impacts of management systems and conservation measures on a bird community. This indicator may contribute to guiding management and enabling tools to incentivize biodiverse production systems and halting and reversing biodiversity loss in our agricultural working landscape.
Day 3 - Panel discussion
Day 1 - Keynote Speaker
Dr. David Kanter, NYU
Leveraging the agri-food system for a post-carbon world
The current toolbox of environmental policy instruments in the agricultural sector is woefully inadequate for transitioning to a post-carbon agri-food system. This keynote will focus on two crucial changes that need to occur: the first is shifting the regulatory burden away from farmers towards other actors in the agri-food chain that can influence farm-level behavior. This could transform the non-point pollution problems that constitute agriculture’s environmental footprint into a series of more tractable point-source approaches. The second is more visibility into the trade-offs and synergies of transitioning to a post-carbon agri-food system, i.e. what are the implications for the Sustainable Development Goals and their successor(s)? This talk will explore these questions through the lens of two ongoing projects: the first is Governing Nutrient Pollution Beyond Farmers, which aims to design a new governance framework for nutrient pollution that would go hand-in-hand with a broader transition towards a post-carbon economy. The second is the Sustainable Agriculture Matrix: the first integrated decision-support tool to help policymakers understand the implications of different agricultural management and policy choices in the context of the SDGs.
Day 1- Food systems redesign: What are the opportunities?
Redesigning grain agriculture with perennality and diversity
All of the cereals and pulses that farmers grow, and most of the oilseed crops are annuals, meaning they complete their lifecycles in months rather than years, and require replanting with every crop. This approach to agriculture is almost synonymous with agriculture itself, as it has defined the way diverse agricultural societies have obtained nutrition for millennia. It contrasts with almost all natural ecosystems such as forests, grasslands, savannahs, tundra and deserts which are dominated by perennial vegetation that lives for years, decades or even centuries. To grow annual crops, it is necessary to clear competing vegetation to allow crop seedlings to establish. Many indigenous farmers around the world have demonstrated how annual crop agriculture can be sustainable when clearing vegetation is restricted in scale, and to specific parts of the landscape such as floodplains. However, as annual cropping has expanded across some 10% of ice-free land, serious soil and ecosystem degradation has resulted, including erosion, loss of soil organic matter (carbon), and leaching and runoff of nutrients into aquatic ecosystems. Is it time to reconsider our approach to growing grains? Work is underway at The Land Institute in Kansas, at the University of Manitoba, and at many other research institutions around the world to redesign agriculture to feature perennality and diversity--two of the key features that helped natural ecosystems build the soils we currently farm.
Day 1- Support for Indigenous food systems at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Emily Missyabit McAuley
Support for Indigenous food systems at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Indigenous food systems in Canada have been disrupted by multiple government interventions. At the same time, Indigenous communities have been subjected to extractive research practices while Indigenous sciences have been disregarded and devalued by western science and society. However, Indigenous knowledge systems, methodologies, and Peoples possess significant innovation potential and have been learning from and stewarding food systems in North America since time immemorial. Indigenous food systems often involve ecosystem-level knowledge and maintenance of endemic plants and animals, and are inextricably intertwined with local cultural and social traditions. The species and practices used are locally adapted to the ecosystems, climates, topographies and waterways found in North America. Learn what Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is doing to support Indigenous innovation and the revitalization of Indigenous food systems.
Day 1- Integration of local plant-based food processing co-products in Manitoba livestock feeding. Example with Roquette Canada Pea Cream at Reutter Dairy Farm MB.
Christian Delporte, Saskia Reutter and Michelle Finley
In November 2020, Roquette started operations at the world's largest pea protein plant, located just outside Winnipeg in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. The region produces more peas than any other in the world, all within a day's drive of the plant. Demand for pea protein has been increasing with multiple industry estimates expecting an annual global growth rate between 15 and 24 percent over the next decade.
The plant is also well positioned geographically to ensure a local market for Pea Cream, a new-to-Canada liquid livestock feed. The product is a mix of wet pea pulp/concentrated pea soluble and is a sustainable way to use the co-products from Roquette's pea protein isolate production process.
Pea Cream offers dairy and livestock producers local, sustainable feed that may reduce impact from supply chain interruptions and weather events.
Included in the presentation is valuable insight and video from Saskia Reutter, owner/operator of Reutter Dairy who has integrated Pea Cream into their day to day operations.
The presentation also includes background on Roquette's decision to locate its new plant in Manitoba and the nutritional and sustainability benefits of Pea Cream.
Day 2- Farming for sustainable food systems and Holos workshop
Participants will have the opportunity to join a workshop where we will have a hands-on training & demonstration of the Holos 4 modelling software.
Training will consist of short demonstrations of the Holos software (5-10 minutes each), followed by short pauses (5-10 minutes) with audience members repeating what was demonstrated on their computers.
Aaron McPherson (AAFC), Sarah Pogue (AAFC), and Roland Kroebel (AAFC) will be available to assist during the training.
Training will be 3 hours in length, and there will be 3 short bio-breaks during this time.
A training guide and instructions on how to install the software will be sent out a couple of weeks before the conference starts.
Day 2- Road to carbon neutrality
Road to Carbon Neutrality: A Research Perspective.
Achieving carbon neutrality in agricultural production requires a near wholesale change in the fundamental structure of our food production system. The challenges of greenhouse gas emission reductions, renewable energy use, and improved production efficiencies will be considered in this discussion. Some major technological and knowledge requirements on the road to carbon neutrality will be proposed and discussed. It is hoped the discussion will engage audience participation and contributions.
Day 2 - A Road to Fossil Fuel Free Farming and Net Negative
I will talk about my journey which caused me to write the book, A Road to Fossil Fuel Free Farming, an example and a challenge, a bit about the book. I will continue with some of the ongoing changes we are making at the farm to be Net Negative. How we will be using the principles from regenerative agriculture and agroecology, transforming them into Zero Till Plus practices; looking for and incorporating Green substitutes for N fertilizer and diesel fuel; all the while ensure we are using sustainable intensification of remaining inputs to optimize crop output and profitability. We firmly believe in the principle, If there is no money, there is no business and further if there is no future hospitable environment, nothing else matters. I will end with a short discussion of how doing the PhD is expanding my knowledge, tools and network to help take the Net Negative concept and practices to the bigger stage.
Day 2 - Funding Agriculture's decarbonization through carbon offsets
Ag producers are uniquely positioned to benefit from rising carbon prices. Work is currently underway to develop cost-benefit analyses for a wide variety of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction practices in the agricultural sector. The most promising is paying farmers to implement 4R practices, and to use cover and intercrops as a means of sequestering carbon using root systems. This presentation will provide a high-level overview of the carbon markets, how carbon offsets are created, and opportunities in the agriculture sector to participate.
Day 3- The need for a landscape approach in managing farms to achieve sustainability
Click the image to view the presentation
In managing an agricultural operation, it is necessary to view the farm as a landscape, with each facet of that landscape having different requirements and risks for production. This complexity presents several challenges in achieving economic and environmental sustainability. In this talk, these challenges are addressed and recommendations provided, with the goal of enhancing management and, equally important, enhancing research and development, and policy and programming.
Day 3 - Farming in a marginal landscape: Finding value in natural capital
Managing marginal areas can be a challenge as economic returns are lower and the land is often of poor soil quality or has undesirable characteristics. In this engaging session, Janine will share her own farm’s experience, identify management practices that put the power of nature-based solutions to work, and explores helpful strategies from Ducks Unlimited Canada. Learn how to tap into agricultural diversity to make every acre count!
Day 3 - My Thoughts on a Sustainable Production System
My name is Duane Thompson, a man of the dirt. I've learned from three generations before me and take the role of fostering and working with the two coming behind me very seriously. Our system management approach of annual crops, perennial forages, cows and feedlot is not uncommon but certainly not as mainstream as it was 50 yrs ago. A combination of academia, market forces and today’s lifestyle expectations have all led to this. The greatest concern of agriculture is the loss of the precious topsoil. This has been somewhat reduced with new farming methods and technology and I am happy to report our system has resulted in increased levels of organic matter, up to 2+ fold for the average of our area. There has never been a time that food producers have had to justify and explain what they do as we do now. In a very short period, we have gone from most people having a solid connection with where their food came from to just 2% producing food for the other 98%. I believe that a well managed mixed enterprise production system can be a profitable, a carbon sink and provide a valuable ecosystem for nature.
Day 1 AM - Holos model v.4 training
Aaron McPherson, Roland Kroebel and Sarah Pogue, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The session will consist of hands on training with the Holos v.4 software and is suitable for anyone with an interest in whole farm modelling. Training will consist of instructor-led demonstrations of how to enter input into the model and process results. A training guide will be distributed to everyone registered for the workshop before the event starts. This guide will include instructions on how to download the software and any other necessary preparations.
Day 1 PM - How can livestock be used as a strategy to improve soil health?
Dr. Yvonne Lawley, University of Manitoba
Using cover crops to reach soil health goals in integrated crop-livestock systems
Dr. Martin Entz, University of Manitoba
Smart livestock integration facilitates organic agriculture and a healthier food system
"Mother Earth never attempts to farm without livestock" (Sir Albert Howard and Lady Eve Balfour). 100 years after this pronouncement organic farmers still rely on livestock to control weeds and recycle nutrients. "Smart integration" means taking the role of animals to the next level. Rethinking the role of farmyard - and other - animals within agricultural and food systems is therefore required. "Smart integration" will allow agriculture to become more thermodynamically efficient and environmentally friendly.
Jill and Clarice Martens, Martens Charolais and Seed
Waste not, want not: the advantages of mixed farming
Cattle and field crops complement each other in a farming system. On our farm, beef manure supplements our soil fertility plan. Edible bean and pea screenings from our seed enterprise provide a valuable protein source for our cattle. Mixed farming allows us to recycle nutrients and get the most out of our animals and land.
Melissa Atchison, Poplarview Stock Farm
Cows, crops and conservation ag
Poplarview Stock Farm is an intergenerational family farm near Pipestone, Manitoba. With a land base running the gamut from sandhills to sloughs, grazing management and winter feeding strategies to promote soil health are a cornerstone of the operation. In this presentation we will share the ways in which we integrate livestock with annual and perennial crops to move toward long term sustainability. Cattle provide a diverse landscape and ecological goods and services; crops help to increase profitability. With a focus on profitability over production, this presentation seeks to highlight how long-term sustainability often calls for operating in the “messy middle” implementing practical strategies balancing conventional and conservation agriculture. After all, it can’t be green if you’re in the red!
Day 2 AM - Crop Metrics training: online mapping application for monitoring in-season crop progress in Canada
Erl Svendsen, Catherine Champagne, Aston Chipanshi and Ryan Tondevold, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada-Science and Technology Branch
Crop Metrics is a Canada-wide interactive online mapping tool that shows:
- what to expect for crop yield for several agronomic crops (e.g. spring wheat, canola) at the start of the growing season (with monthly adjustments), and
- the environmental factors that help explain the yield forecasts. You can see at a glance where the trouble spots are and be prepared to support farmers in those areas.
In the workshop, you will be guided through a series of scenarios to familiarize you with the features and tools. This workshop will be of interest to policy, program and market analysts; agronomists; agrologists; crop scouts and producers.
Day 2 PM - Canadian evidence of climate change - What's happened and how are we responding?
Timi Ojo, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development
Can historical Prairie climate trends provide a roadmap for adaptation?
In recent decades, there are indications that Prairie climate is getting warmer, however, this warming trend is not uniform throughout the year. Nested within the climate trends are intra- and inter-seasonal weather variability that influence farm management decisions. Heat and water availability are two important factors that can limit agricultural production on the Prairies. Can the knowledge gained from understanding climate trends provide a roadmap for adaptation strategies? This presentation will provide recent weather trends in the context of historical Prairie climate and discuss the "wildcard" effects which are often hard to predict.
Marcos Cordeiro, University of Manitoba
Impact of climate change on water crop demand: What to expect in the Canadian Prairies?
Climate change is expected to have a distinct impact on crop yields and water demand. However, those impacts are usually discussed at large spatial scales, making their interpretation at local level more challenging for producers, researchers, and government personnel. In this presentation, Marcos Cordeiro will discuss the specific impacts of climate change on crop water demand in the context of the Canadian Prairies, based on recent findings reported in the literature. Starting with the expected trends in temperature and precipitation deficit, which takes evapotranspiration into account, Marcos will use specific examples in different Prairie provinces to illustrate the expected change in water demand for important crops in the region.
Meghan Vankosky, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Shifting insect pest population dynamics and distribution across time.
Insect development, reproduction, survival, and dispersal are dependent on abiotic conditions, largely temperature. Therefore, climate change could have significant impacts on insect species, including pests and their natural enemies. In the field of agricultural entomology, we use modeling programs such as CLIMEX and DYMEX to make predictions about seasonal pest phenology (within years) and pest distribution (between years). We can also use the models to make predictions about climate change. After nearly 20 years of model predictions, we can now start looking back at model outputs and compare those to current pest distribution data to evaluate the predictive capacity of the models and to understand the impact of climate change on insect pests.
David Wiens, Dairy Farmers of Canada
Leading the pack: Sustainable farming
Canadian dairy farmers are naturally committed to sustainability and the environment the longevity of their farms depends on it. Whether it is our investments in the development of tools to help measure the environmental impact of dairy, our efforts in research and development, or the continued adoption of better farm practices, dairy farmers are as committed as ever to the goal of greater sustainability and ongoing improvement. In his presentation, David Wiens will provide an overview of dairy farming’s latest environmental assessment and touch on future opportunities currently being explored to build further on our progress on sustainability.
Day 3 - Carbon production, trading and neutrality - What does it mean for producers?
Karen Haugen-Kozyra, Viresco Solutions
The carbon road – Why take it and where will it lead?
Fardausi (Shathi) Akhter, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Natural climate solution for Canada - Shelterbelts, agroforestry, wetlands and their potential to store carbon and be accredited
Canada contributes significantly to world food production, but this has not occurred without environmental costs. The agro-ecosystem fragmentations and associated habitat destruction for monoculture production have contributed to a reduction of essential ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration and refuge for beneficial insects and other wildlife. In central Canada, rising temperatures are linked to an increase in multiple-day precipitation events and recent large floods that have affected critical agricultural areas. To prevent further damage in Canada and beyond, we need to increase removals of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as well as reduce emissions from fossil fuels and land sector activities. We estimated the mitigation potential of several natural climate solutions related to the protection, management, and restoration of natural systems in agricultural lands that can also deliver numerous co-benefits, such as improved soil productivity, clean air and water, and conservation of biodiversity.
Tim Faveri, Maple Leaf Foods
Maple Leaf Foods goals and actions for carbon neutrality
In November of 2019, Maple Leaf Foods announced that they had set ambitious science-based greenhouse gas emissions targets and became the first major food company in the world to become carbon neutral. Tim Faveri, VP Sustainability & Shared Value will share the Company's strategy, goals and actions that have been a part of their purposeful journey to become the most sustainable protein company on earth.
Dr. Calvin W. Booker, Feedlot Health Management Services by TELUS Agriculture
Capturing carbon credits associated with improved feedlot efficiency and lower GHG emissions in Alberta
This talk will provide a high-level overview of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the beef cattle industry, as well as a brief summary of our 10+ year journey in quantifying, verifying, and selling GHG credits generated from Alberta feedlots in accordance with Government of Alberta Quantification Protocol for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Fed Cattle, Version 3.0, February 2016.