Agricultural Stakeholder Outreach: Attitudes & Perceptions Towards Methane Reductions in Beef

The importance of Canadian beef production in the context of Albertan economics, environment, and identity,
cannot be understated. With the highest percentage of the national beef herd located in Alberta, beef cattle
producers are crucial in the transformation of the sector to ensure sustainable practices that reduce enteric
methane emissions. The Canadian Beef Advisors, consisting of national beef organizations involved in
Canadian beef marketing, policy, research, and sustainability, announced Canada’s National Beef Strategy in 2015. The strategy aims to ensure Canadian beef production practices adapt to changes in markets across
sustainability and environmental dimensions, with a target to reduce primary production GHG emission
intensity by 33 percent by 2030. This goal aligns with current Agricultural and Agri-Food Canada’s research on
methane emission reductions and offers critical perspective on the role of beef cattle production in ecosystem services, through carbon sequestration and pasture grazing management. Ultimately, the choice to
implement and adopt practices will depend on the cattle producer at the on-farm level.


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Elena Vinco, Nicole Morrison, Joshua Bourassa and Guillaume Lhermie

Agricultural Stakeholder Outreach: Attitudes & Perceptions Towards Nitrous Oxide Reductions in Crop Production

The pressure to change agricultural practices in order to mitigate emissions is high, with persisting
environmental, social, and economic dimensions. In December 2020, the Government of Canada released A
Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, a climate plan that proposed Canada’s first national emission
reduction target for the agricultural sector. This target aimed to reduce fertilizer-based emissions by 30
percent of 2020 levels by 2030. This target relies on the adoption of Best Management Practices for fertilizer
use at the on-farm level. Choice to adopt the emission reduction strategies and practices is ultimately decided
by the landowner, operator, and/or producer. The proposed target was met with significant resistance
opposition from producers and producer groups across Canada’s agricultural sector, particularly in western
Canada, with claims that the target was the equivalent to a ban on fertilizer.


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Elena Vinco, Nicole Morrison, Joshua Bourassa and Guillaume Lhermie

Additives and Offsets. A Partial Life Cycle Analysis of 3NOP Supplementation in Alberta Beef Production

Methane emissions from beef cattle is linked to the highest fraction of methane emissions from the Canadian agricultural sector. The majority of beef production in Canada is linked to Alberta production systems, which typically follows cattle starting in cow-calf operations through finishing in feedlots. Although emission targets have not been set for the beef production sector, increasing social, political, and environmental pressures will require the beef industry to continue adapting to increasing sustainability measures. 3NOP is highlighted as a potential mitigation strategy in beef production, especially in backgrounding and feedlot setting; however, incentive for adoption remains uncertain, as supplementation is not concretely associated with added production value. Carbon offsets may offer a potential incentivization strategy.


This research uses Monte Carlo simulation to investigate the effects of 3NOP supplementation on total lifetime emissions of steers under differing production systems dosage levels. Emissions were estimated using a modified version of the IPCC Tier 2 Gross Energy Approach Methodology and parameters specific to Canadian beef production. The potential value of emission reductions with various doses and differing stages of production was also estimated using a hypothetical offset protocol for 3NOP supplementation. This research found that lifetime emissions were reduced by between 6.1 and 10.4 kg CH4 per head when 3NOP was supplemented at the finishing stage of production. Estimated emission reductions increased between 3.7 and 5.7 kg CH4 per head when early supplementation at the backgrounding stage of production occurred. These reductions translate offsets valued between $7.66 and $12.97 per head in the finishing stage and between $4.62 and $7.13 while backgrounding.


Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Elena Vinco, Joshua Bourassa, Nataliia Arman, Nicole Morrison, and Guillaume Lhermie

Are Offsets Enough? A Partial Cost Benefit Analysis of Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizer Adoption for Dryland Wheat Production in Alberta

A better understanding of the additional costs and potential benefits to producers is needed to meet Canada’s fertilizer-based emission reduction target through policies that incentivize on-farm EENF adoption. This research conducts a partial cost-benefit analysis for dryland wheat production in Alberta and EENF use. The research uses a modified version of Canada’s National Inventory Report Methodology to estimate direct fertilizer based N2O emissions. Monte Carlo simulation is used to estimate field-level emissions using a combination of township-level weather and risk zone-level production data. The costs and benefits of EENF adoption to producers were evaluated by estimating potential changes in net revenue, under a business-as-usual scenario and when carbon offsets are provided at a value of $50 and $170 per tonne of CO2eq.


While there a high degree of spatial variability is reflected in our results, the research indicated generally low base emissions across the province with approximately 90 percent of the simulated field level observations below 1.0 kg N2O emissions per hectare. Low per hectare average emissions will pose a major challenge to the development of an effective carbon offset program for N2O reductions, due to limited potential revenue generation relative to the cost of adoption. Estimated change in net revenue was highly dependent on the production risk zone and EENF product type used, suggesting limited effectiveness of a one-size-fits-all policy.



Monday, October 31, 2022

Nataliia Arman, Joshua Bourassa, Elena Vinco, Nicole Morrison, and Guillaume Lhermie

Beef and Plant Protein: Stronger Together

Governments should look at the beef and plant protein industries as one protein market with multiple commodities, say participants at a protein industry roundtable held recently at the University of Calgary. The synergies between the sectors can be used to present a strong, sustainable, trusted brand for the Canadian protein market, both domestically and internationally, driving investment for infrastructure and innovation that could improve Canada’s global position for protein production and export. The government should consider developing policies and regulations that can help facilitate such a collaboration.

The roundtable of protein industry stakeholders was hosted by the Simpson Centre for Food and Agricultural Policy, an applied research policy institute at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, whose goal is to mobilize research for better policymaking and decision-making to realize a more sustainable agricultural industry. Discussing the challenges and opportunities for the beef and plant protein industries, the participants agreed that working together would offer many benefits.

By presenting a united front, the protein industry has a better chance of lobbying governments for mutually beneficial changes, attracting more investments for infrastructure to increase efficiency and reliability, educating consumers on the synergies between the industries and branding Canadian protein as a sustainable, reliable and abundant market. Branding is a key factor in the protein market — consumers, investors and governments need to see the plant and beef protein sectors as partners, not competitors. They need factual information from the industry — rather than be influenced by misperceptions spread by social and mass media — to be satisfied with the agriproducts being produced and with the methods of production.

The roundtable participants cited one example of a synergy with benefits on multiple levels — using the by-product from plant protein production to feed cattle. This helps with sustainability in both the beef and plant protein industries, particularly with current global supply chain issues brought on by drought, conflict and other factors. It is also environmentally friendly and demonstrates that the industries can work together for each other’s benefit. This type of innovative synergy would also improve consumers’ perceptions of the beef and plant protein industries, besides driving investment and expansion.

Governments need to consider the opportunities that a unified protein market can provide for Canada. A strong, sustainable protein market has the potential for exponential growth, particularly with ongoing global supply chain issues and food security concerns.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Emma Windfeld, John Bailey, Elena Vinco, and Shawn Wiskar

Mitigating Non-Tariff Measures in Agriculture: Preferential Trade Agreements and Conversations

Regulatory divergence between countries is creating barriers to market access in international agri-food trade, becoming what are known as non-tariff measures (NTMs). NTMs create friction in international trade, increasing fulfillment costs and, if sufficiently burdensome, pose a very real threat to global food security. More countries, including Canada, are turning to preferential trade agreements (PTAs) to liberalize trade. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union was heralded as comprehensive in its coverage, reducing or eliminating tariffs in virtually all aspects of trade. Overall bilateral trade has increased since CETA came into force but not for many of Canada’s agri-food exporters. CETA’s tariff-focused agenda did little to mitigate the NTMs impeding many Canadian agri-food exports. NTMs are not unique to Canada-EU trade. They are an increasing factor impeding world food trade as more governments are basing policy decisions on ideological or political factors rather than sound science. As a result, regulatory divergence in NTMs is widening among a greater number of countries. The agri-food trade system becomes less predictable, riskier and more volatile. For international trade, it has been described as a slow death by 1,000 regulations. The only means to address regulatory divergence is to facilitate regulatory convergence. This is not an easy task given the number of multi-disciplinary stakeholders involved, both domestic and international. While PTAs are not well equipped to legislatively force convergence, they do provide informal and formal opportunities for building networks, strengthening relationships and opening communication channels that can foster and facilitate regulatory convergence. Every opportunity to do so, whether bilaterally, through PTAs or multilaterally, must be taken advantage of.

Thursday, July 07, 2022

May T. Yeung