Tag Archive Reason

Net Zero Challenges

The City of Sarnia in collaboration with the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership and a number of community partners across Lambton County hosted an Energy and Environment Summit on the morning of May 17th at Lambton College’s Event Centre.

The summit was attended by seventy-five participants with a genuine interest in the success of the Sarnia Lambton community.

As Canada moves to net zero, energy and the environment will merge and ultimately drive economic development. Understanding how Sarnia-Lambton will embrace this goal will be the essence of this summit’s discussion.

The LFA was invited to speak about the challenges that the Net Zero goal will have on agriculture and how our sector will be able to help other sectors reach that goal.

UPDATE: A report on the results of the Sarnia-Lambton Energy and Environment Summit has been released.
Download the report here and watch Bryan Boyle’s Report to Sarnia City Council HERE.

YouTube player

Speech by Gary Martin, President of the Lambton Federation of Agriculture

(Check against delivery)

Welcome and thank-you for inviting me to speak on this very important topic.

My name is Gary Martin and I’m currently the President of the Lambton Federation of Agriculture.

The LFA was formed in 1941 to work on a local level to represent the voice of the farmer in Lambton County on issues relating to their farm operations, while bridging with the community and other sectors and partners and service providers.

We’re on the grow, this year supporting 1942 farm families, and in 2021 we supported 1927.

Our mantra is to “Advance agriculture and the rural community through partnerships, education and advocacy.

Energy and the Environment will be dominating the discussion in the years to come and I’d like to think that the 2nd largest industry in Lambton County should have a seat at the table in those discussions.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture acknowledges that Climate Change is happening and that it represents a real threat to agricultural production and the livelihoods of Ontario’s farmers.

Changes in our climate are already occurring as a result of rising global temperatures.

This is resulting in an increased frequency of extreme weather events and higher variability and instability in seasonal cycles that directly affects our ability to manage our crops efficiently.

We also recognize climate change is a global challenge requiring action and investment from governments, communities, businesses, and individuals.

Circling back to our mantra, the LFA are specifically looking for increasing partnerships, education and advocacy, with governmentscommunitiesbusinesses and individuals in the County and Ontario-wide on solutions towards the proposed goal of reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions towards Net-Zero.

*The government has chosen to commit to achieve Net-Zero by 2050 and they have brought forward a few programmes to achieve that in the agriculture sector.

The Federal government has provided funding through the On-Farm Climate Action Fund and the Agricultural Clean Technology Program, helping farmers to adopt more sustainable practices such as cover crops, rotational grazing and fertilizer management; or to purchase more energy-efficient equipment.

Other provinces such as British Columbia also have programmes that specifically promote best management practices for: livestock and manure management, soil conservation and carbon sequestration, energy conservation and ‘fuel switching’, as well as on-farm energy production.

Quebec is also receiving funding for researching environmental sustainability and clean technologies, funded by the Federal AgriScience Programme.

Ontario also conducts its successful Environmental Farm Program through the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association.

*Communities need to realize the mix that different factors contirbute towards Greenhouse gases.

In Canada in 2019 for instance:

  • Agriculture in either Canada or the US contribute 10% of GHG emissions

Comparing that to:

  • Electrical generation, it contributes 8% in Canada (25% in the US)
  • Transportation contributes 25% (or 29% in the US)
  • Heavy Industry, including oil and gas contributes 37% (or 23% in the US)
  • Buildings contribute 12% (or 13% in the US)

*Businesses that are related to Agriculture can and are helping with the transition.

Fertilizer Canada is an industry association that is making great strides in the sustainability of fertilizer usage.

They have been mandated to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer by 30%, from their 2020 levels.

They have been implementing their ‘4R’ Nutrient Stewardship programme to make sure that fertilizer usage is coming from the RIGHT source, is applied at the RIGHT rate and RIGHT time and with the RIGHT placement.

Agricultural equipment manufacturers are also making more fuel efficient machines, and precision technologies ensure that all inputs into the farm are more efficiently placed as well.

*Individual farmers are natural managers of the carbon and nitrogen cycles on their farm (through fuel and fertilizer) and there is a lot of opportunity for agriculture to be a leader in fighting climate change.

The best solutions will be the ones developed by those farmers.

The individual farmer will have to bear the brunt of the costs to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions inherent in the industry, and that is where they need the supports from government and the marketplace.

It is important for the agricultural sector to do their part in reducing emissions and we know we have a responsibility.

As I said earlier, Heavy industry and transportation are larger contributors to overall emissions and therefore have a greater emissions reduction potential in a shorter amount of time.

Agriculture is a primary industry, rural based, and has less access to supports than other sectors receive, so I’d ask for a gentler touch in the push for net zero.

We would also welcome partnerships with Industry on providing feedstocks to help them reduce their emissions.

Thank-You for your time.


Ag minister talks trespassing bill with farmers

Ontario’s agriculture minister spent the afternoon near Sarnia Thursday, meeting with farmers and agriculture sector officials to talk about his bill to crack down on farm trespassing and protests interfering with livestock processing, including trucking.

“We’re protecting the right of the people who are producing our food to make sure they can guarantee that it’s safe food and their animals are being kept safe,” said Ernie Hardeman, listing the spread of disease and contamination of food as potential fallouts from break-ins, often by animal-rights activists, on farm properties.

Ontario Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Ernie Hardeman meets with farmers and the agricultural sector officials from the Lambton Federation of Agriculture at the County of Lambton administration building in Wyoming Thursday. Hardeman, along with Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey, was taking questions about and discussing the government’s proposed Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act.

The proposed Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, which Hardeman hopes will pass third reading over the next few months, ups trespassing fines to $15,000 for first offences and to $25,000 for subsequent offences. The proposed legislation also allows courts to order restitution for any injury, loss or damage caused as a result of an offence, and would increase protection for farmers against civil liability from people hurt while trespassing on their property.

The current maximum trespassing fine is $10,000.

The legislation would not take away the right to protest, Hardeman said, but is aimed at providing security for farmers and their families, whose businesses and homes are often the same.

“So if you want to protest and send a message, do it from the other side of the fence – do it on the sidewalk, do it on public property,” Hardeman said at the Wyoming, Ont., meeting. “But don’t do it and put our food supply at risk.”

The legislation would enable police to charge people with a crime for being in an “animal-safety zone” without authorization, he said, while current legislation does not.

“We have given law enforcement new tools and a better description of what they can do … when someone is where they are, where they shouldn’t be, against the wishes of the property owner,” he said.

Money from fines would go to municipalities, not the province, he said. Hardeman added he doesn’t see the legislation generating any ongoing increased cost for municipalities.

He has plans to meet with Indigenous leaders to assure them their ability to hunt and fish won’t be impacted by the legislation, he said.

The Lambton County stop Thursday was one of about nine community consultations held so far this week, he said. He hopes feedback from farmers will be incorporated into refining the bill.

Some have suggested trespass protections should be extended to pastures, beyond just where animals are transported and processed, he said.

That won’t be included in this bill but could be something the government looks at next, he said.

“I did assure people that after this bill is passed we’re going to work on all challenges farmers face to see if we can solve all the challenges we have.”

Critics of the legislation said it could put a chill on whistleblowers exposing cases of animal abuse, given a provision that prohibits gaining access to a farm or processing plant under “false pretenses.”

~Tyler Kula~
The Sarnia Observer


Safety from ‘aggressive’ animal-rights activists

The concerns are nothing new. But the province is beginning to listen, Warwick mayor Jackie Rombouts said, citing a conversation she had with Progressive Conservative MPP Ernie Hardeman at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference this summer. Hardeman is Ontario’s agriculture minister.

Farmers did not necessarily score a legal win at the Sept. 4 meeting, settling instead for the official support of county council. After the meeting Sarnia councillor Bill Dennis said he would bring their safety concerns to city council as well.

“I know myself, as a livestock producer, I have concerns,” said George Dickenson, a Lambton Federation of Agriculture member and long-time mental health advocate. “But I’m happy with their response. I’m happy Jackie brought the motion forward. I guess it’s (more about) the response that happens at the provincial level, the legal level.”

“I think they all get it,” added Gary Martin, another Lambton Federation of Agriculture member.

The concerns fall into two categories. Lambton County farmers, already worried about a projected loss in annual crop sales they call “unprecedented,” are worried about their personal safety and the safety of their staff, as well as truck drivers.

Video cameras do not help either, Martin said, not when Internet speeds are spotty (at best) in many places around the region.

The other issue is with the justice system, where McCabe says criminal activity is often overlooked and charges against animal rights activists, like McQueen, are often dropped.

~Louis Pin~
Sarnia & Lambton County This Week