New study shows Ontario's farmers are environmental leaders

Better farming practices reduce greenhouse gas emissions, taking 125,000 cars off the road Guelph, Ontario, June 5, 2007 - A new study, Caring for the Land – Our Farm Environmental Commitment, shows that Ontario’s farmers are environmental leaders. Greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by the equivalent of taking 125,000 cars off the road through improved soil conservation measures.Farmers have spent at least $600 million on environmental improvements and 300,000 days in environmental training. Over 70% of them have voluntarily participated in the Environmental Farm Plan program.

“This report reveals the tip of the iceberg,” stated Jackie Fraser, Executive Director of Agricultural Groups Concerned About Resources and the Environment (AGCare) who conducted the study. “There are so many farmers doing great things for the environment; this report merely scratches the surface.”

The study was released today to celebrate Canadian Environment Week. The entire report, a summary booklet, case studies, and other information are available on www.caringfortheland.com – a new website also launched today.

“Who in society is more dependent on a healthy environment than farmers? Our families live, work, and play on our farms, and our livelihood depends on healthy soil, air, and water,” stated Murray Porteous, a fruit and vegetable farmer. “Farmers know the importance of sustaining the quality of their environment and treating it with respect.”

AGCare is an environmental organization that represents Ontario's 45,000 farmers, providing science and research-based information and policy initiatives on environmental issues on behalf of its membership. Funding for this project was provided in part by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Agricultural Adaptation Council.

- 30 -

For more information or to reach a farmer in your area, contact: Jackie Fraser, Executive Director, AGCare, Phone: 519-837-1326; Cell: 519-831-6557; jfraser@agcare.org

CARING FOR THE LAND BACKGROUNDER

AGCare’s report, “Caring for the Land - Our Farm Environmental Commitment” documents the environmental protection work of Ontario farmers through better farming practices.

NUMBERS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Changes in farming practices have resulted in the following:

Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

• Conservation tillage allows a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 125,000 cars or almost 3 of 4 cars on Toronto’s Don Valley Parkway

• Over 600 kilotonnes of carbon not being released from the soil due to conservation tillage • Reducing tillage conserves soil carbon reducing greenhouse gas emissions

• Almost 2/3 (63%) of Ontario’s farmers use conservation tillage (“no till” or “reduced tillage”) affecting nearly 4 million acres, roughly the size of Lake Ontario

Investment – By Individual Farmers

• $600 million on individual on-farm environmental improvements

• $100 million through internationally recognized Environmental Farm Plan (EFP)

• Over 33,000 farmers (over 70% of Ontario’s 45,000 farmers) have participated in the EFP and growing

• Farmers invest $3 for every $1 government programs invests in environmental programs

Participation and Training

• 300,000 days of environmental training such as Environmental Farm Plan workshops, Grower Pesticide Safety Course, and Nutrient Management Training

Pesticide Reduction

• 52% reduction in pesticide use

• All farmers purchasing and applying pesticides must be trained and certified every five years

Mark Cullen supports the Environmental Farm Plan program

• Mark Cullen, best selling author and one of Canada’s most prolific garden writers, supports the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) program. He has completed an EFP for his own farm. Mark provides environmental tips to gardeners based on the stewardship practices that the EFP promotes.

By entering my email above I consent to receive emails containing information about the Greenbelt and the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. I may revoke my consent by unsubscribing.