Farming industry leaders are saying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 30% emission reduction target for fertilizer by 2030 is unachievable and would impose “significant costs” on crop production.

On Wednesday, Fertilizer Canada and the Canola Council of Canada co-published an analysis of the Liberal climate plan for the agricultural industry. 

According to their analysis, farmers say they could squeeze a 14% reduction from their fertilizer use without impacting food supplies but 30% was not “realistically achievable without imposing significant costs on Canada’s crop producers and potentially damaging the financial health of Canada’s crop production sector.”

“I believe what (this report) is saying is the 30 per cent reduction target is not achievable without putting production and exports in jeopardy, and we’ve been saying that all along,” Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions general manager Tom Steve told Global News. 

“It was an arbitrary target that was set somewhere in the government, with no path as to how it was going to be achieved.”

The voluntary target was first introduced by the Liberals in their 2020 climate plan and it applies to direct fertilizer application and indirect nitrogen emissions leached from crop fields. 

As exclusively reported by True North, Agriculture Canada singled out Canadian farmers as being among the worst emission offenders in the world when it comes to fertilizer use. 

“Available data show that Canadian cereal production likely has one of the highest levels of emissions intensity (amount of GHGs emitted per unit of product) amongst major exporting countries,” Agriculture Canada claims. 

“Canada’s emission intensity for cereals in 2017 is higher than those reported for the United States, the European Union and (other regions).”

An Aug. poll of farmers by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business also found that 72% of farmers said that their crop yields would plummet should they follow the Trudeau government’s approach. 

Concerns by farmers have since been labeled by Liberal Minister of Agriculture Marie-Claude Bibeau as “misinformation.” 

“It’s really taken our eye off the ball of what is needed in our industry, which is to become more efficient and productive and competitive,” Steve said. 

“Most farmers already do whatever they can to reduce their use of fertilizer – it’s their most expensive input.”