Government of Canada supporting Manitoba farmers to develop and implement solutions to combat climate change

News release

December 16, 2020 – Winnipeg, Manitoba – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

Canadian farmers are leaders in climate-smart agriculture, finding new approaches to sustainably feed Canada and the world. The Government of Canada is continuing to support their efforts by bringing together farmers, scientists, and other partners to ensure they have the tools they need to protect the environment and grow their businesses.

Today, the Honourable Jim Carr, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced that the Government of Canada is providing up to $5.9 million for on-farm research activities. Under the project farmers and scientists will work in collaboration to develop and implement new technologies and best practices for environmental management.

The Living Lab-Eastern Prairies project has been launched throughout the last year on farms within the Upper Oak Lake, Swan Lake, North Shannon Creek and Main Drain watersheds.

The technologies and best management practices developed under this initiative are helping to give Manitoban farmers the tools to adjust to climate change and better address water quality, soil conservation and improve biodiversity on agricultural landscapes.

Some of the key research includes work to:

  • enhance habitats for beneficial insects;
  • develop better tile draining practices;
  • evaluate new approaches to prevent nutrient, water and habitat losses in the Eastern Prairies; and,
  • evaluate the use of regenerative grazing management to capture and sequester carbon in grassland soil.

Currently, farmers within these watersheds are taking part in AAFC research projects that include the construction of perennial grassed runways and buffer strips, cover cropping, inter-cropping, and poly cropping, and the construction of small wetland retention ponds.

The Living Lab-Eastern Prairies initiative is a collaboration of more than a dozen partners, including Environmental and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and builds upon the work organizations like the Manitoba Association of Watersheds (MAW) are doing to monitor and mitigate the agro-environmental issues taking place within Eastern Prairie watersheds, such as the over-use of artificial fertilizers. For more information, farmers are invited to visit Manitoba Association of Watersheds.

Quotes

“For Prairie farmers to keep feeding Canadians and people around the world sustainably, they need to get their hands on the right tools as quickly as possible. This innovative, collaborative research approach will help Manitoban farmers get the tailored tools they need to drive productivity in a sustainable manner.
-       The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Manitoba is a world-class leader in agriculture and we are proud to be home to the Living Labs-Eastern Prairies initiative. Collaboration between our local farmers, watersheds, and government organizations will help keep Manitoba on the cutting edge of ag innovation and research for years to come.”
-       The Honourable Jim Carr, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre

“MAW is dedicated in its support of the watershed districts’ efforts to protect Manitoba’s soil, water, habitat and climate, and the research being done as part of the Living Labs-Eastern Prairies initiative, which will help ensure sustainable farming practices are implemented in Western Canada for years to come. MAW is a proud partner of the Living Labs-Eastern Prairies initiative, and we look forward to contributing to its continued success.”
-       Lynda Nicol, Executive Director, Manitoba Association of Watersheds

Quick facts

  • The Living Laboratories Initiative is part of a nation-wide network funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Other sites launched to date include Living Lab Atlantic in Prince Edward Island and Living Lab Quebec.

  • The Living Laboratories Initiative is a collaborative approach that involves farmers and experts from many disciplines in the development and testing of innovative agricultural practices and technologies. The ultimate goal is to accelerate the development and adoption of best management practices and technologies by farmers.

  • This initiative is part of a $70-million investment outlined in Budget 2017 to further support agricultural discovery science and innovation, with a focus on climate change and soil and water conservation.

  • The Manitoba Association of Watersheds is a not-for-profit organization that supports the 14 watershed districts in Manitoba. The organization works to advocate and promote best watershed management practices in Manitoba.

  • A Canadian-led Agroecosystem Living Labs approach – a novel approach to accelerating the development of sustainable agricultural practices and technologies around the world – was endorsed by the G20 Ministers of Agriculture in 2018 and 2019.

  • The investments of up to $5.9 million announced for the Living Laboratories Initiative in Manitoba include:

    • $2.4 million for the Manitoba Association of Watersheds to implement various activities; and,
    • $3.5 million will be used to fund the work of federal scientists who support the project, including those at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada.
  • The Living Lab-Eastern Prairies collaborative partners include producers and:

    • Manitoba Association of Watersheds
    • Assiniboine West Watershed District
    • Pembina Valley Watershed District
    • Swan Lake First Nation
    • Redboine Watershed District
    • Seine Rat Roseau Watershed District
    • Environment and Climate Change Canada
    • International Institute for Sustainable Development
    • Keystone Agricultural Producers
    • Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development
    • Manitoba Forage & Grasslands Association
    • Nature Conservancy of Canada

Associated links

Contacts

Jean-Sébastien Comeau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
jean-sebastien.comeau@canada.ca
343-549-2326

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972
aafc.mediarelations-relationsmedias.aac@canada.ca
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