Climate change is increasingly impacting many aspects of our daily lives, and we know it’s a top-of-mind concern for Canadians. It’s a big deal for farmers too, as they’re on the front line of our environment every day, and they know first-hand how important healthy soil, air, and water are to growing plentiful crops, and raising healthy livestock in a sustainable way. They’re also among the first to experience, and adapt to our changing climate, from more frequent extreme weather events, to dealing with drought and disease. That’s why, now more than ever, sustainable farming is a key focus on farms of all types, sizes, and styles. This pathway includes environmental, social, and economic sustainability, and farmers more than ever are making all three priorities their farm businesses, for the next generation of farmers, and for the future of the world as a whole through their practices and the adoption of innovation. For example, many of them are following in the footsteps of their parents or grandparents who farmed the same land before them, and are now committed to making sure their children can continue to farm that land for decades to come.
Making sustainable farming practices even better
On their own, through farm organizations, collaborations with the supply chain, and with federal and provincial governments, Canadian farmers invest heavily in environmental research, and are focused on making responsible and sustainable farming practices even better. We know so much more about soil health, pest and nutrient management, and sustainable crop production than we did decades ago — and we’re also getting better at measuring the positive impacts of changes we’ve already made, and of newer and better practices which we’re using today.
A coalition of agricultural government and industry partners is currently developing Canada’s National Index on Agri-Food Performance that will provide a comprehensive picture of the sustainability of Canada’s food system from farm to retail. Once it’s released — expected in 2024 — the index will measure a suite of 20 metrics and 130 environmental, economic, food integrity, and societal well-being indicators.