Source: Rawpixel

The head of one of Ontario’s largest farming groups said that a recent Auditor General report proves that Ottawa is asking farmers to do the impossible when it comes to emission reduction targets. 

Jeff Harrison, the chairman of Grain Farmers of Ontario, minced no words in his critique, stating that Ottawa’ is unfair targeting farmers.

Harrison vehemently criticized the government’s approach, labelling it a “vilification strategy” aimed at blaming farmers for climate-related challenges. He emphasized that farmers are being unfairly burdened with the responsibility of solving a problem they did not solely create.

“Painting this climate picture as the fault of agriculture, it vilifies farmers,” Harrison remarked. 

“It’s part of the added stress on farmers that they are expected to do the unachievable. They’re expected to solve a problem that they didn’t necessarily create.”

Harrison further expressed his frustration with what he perceived as “unachievable targets and unrealistic goals” imposed on farmers by the government. “It kind of pisses me off, to be honest,” he added.

Harrison’s remarks come in the wake of a scathing report by the Auditor General, which castigated the federal government for its mishandling of emission reduction efforts within the agriculture sector.

The report, titled “Agriculture and Climate Change Mitigation,” scrutinized programs overseen by Agri-Food Canada, with a particular focus on the government’s voluntary 2030 target for farmers to reduce fertilizer emissions by 30%. 

The Auditor General highlighted several issues, including widespread mismanagement and a lack of transparency.

One of the primary concerns raised in the report was the absence of consultation with stakeholders, such as farmers and industry associations, before establishing the arbitrary fertilizer emission reduction target. 

This oversight led to confusion within the sector, with some interpreting the target as a mandate to reduce fertilizer usage by 30%, rather than focusing on emission reduction through improved application techniques.

The Grain Farmers of Ontario chairman’s remarks underscore the growing discontent within the agricultural community over Ottawa’s emission reduction policies.