March 24th, 2021|General

Launch of AAC’s Agricultural Climate Solutions program

Agricultural Climate Solutions (ACS) is a $185 million, 10-year program that will help develop and implement farming practices to tackle climate change. Through agricultural practices such as shelterbelts or cover crops, farmland can trap and store carbon and reduce greenhouse gases.

ACS is a program under the more than $4 billion Natural Climate Solutions Fund.

Farmers contributing to reaching Canada’s emissions targets

The agriculture sector, through ACS, is supporting the goals of Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan to improve nature and climate benefits by capturing carbon to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support nature’s resilience, and improve Canadians’ quality of life. The Government of Canada has set a clear ambition – exceeding the target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, and towards net-zero emissions by 2050.

ACS will develop regional collaboration hubs on farms, known as “Living Labs”. Farmers and farm groups will be at the centre of decision making, innovation and on-farm activities at each hub. ACS includes transferring knowledge to other farmers so that they can deploy solutions that are tailored to their region and promote environmental sustainability and resiliency in the agriculture sector.

Collaborators will implement projects that also contribute to environmental co-benefits, such as:

Sequestering carbon and reducing greenhouse gases

Like Canada’s forests, Canada’s millions of acres of farmland have the potential to trap and store carbon and reduce greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The initiative will contribute to meeting or exceeding Canada’s current greenhouse gas reduction target of 30% (below 2005 levels) by 2030 and towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Conserving soil that is healthier and more resilient

Rich and healthy soil is the heartbeat of all farms. The use of cover crops and intercropping are just two of many ways that farmers can improve soil quality, trap and store more carbon, and reduce the negative environmental effects caused by soil erosion.

Finding ways to conserve clean water

From soil to streams, water is essential to healthy crops and populations. Farming practices can help conserve one of humankind’s greatest resources and safeguard clean water for communities.

Protecting biodiversity for sustainable farms

Biodiversity is the variety of all life on Earth, from tiny organisms to plants, animals and humans. Protecting the diversity of life on farms can result in healthy fields with fewer pest problems. Plus, a larger number of plant species means a greater variety of crops and diversified farm incomes.

Reducing effects of climate change to help all Canadians

Environmentally sustainable farms help to combat climate change, reconnect our rural and urban communities, and contribute to the well-being of all Canadians with healthy food and clean air and water.

Application process

Projects in each province will be selected based on the potential to store carbon and/or reduce greenhouse gases. To be eligible for the Agriculture Climate Solutions program, applicants must form a large network of partnerships within a province, including with agricultural non-profits, Indigenous organizations and environmental groups. Non-repayable funding available through ACS will be deployed in several phases starting in April 2021.

Phase 1: Grant funding applications (April 1 to June 15, 2021)

AAFC is accepting proposals for grants of up to $100,000 from eligible organizations to support them in developing a network of participants, based on the living labs model, to develop and submit comprehensive project proposals for contribution funding to establish an ACS project.

Phase 2: Contribution funding applications (Fall 2021)

Applications for funding support of up to $10 million per project and, if requested, research and development support from a team of government department scientists led by AAFC, is slated to open in Fall 2021. It is expected that approved projects will start in the spring 2022. The receipt of grant funding in Phase 1 will not be a requirement to apply for Phase 2 contribution funding and AAFC research and development support.

A second intake of grant applications and contribution funding applications for additional ACS projects will begin in spring 2022.

Form more information, visit Agriculture and Agri-food Canada’s website.

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