Canada launches new agricultural methane reduction challenge

Up to $12 million awarded to methane-reducing innovators
calendar icon 17 November 2023
clock icon 3 minute read

Reducing methane emissions requires new and innovative ideas, including in the agriculture sector. It is also a key part of the government of Canada's plan to tackle climate change and mitigate the impact on farmers, who are experiencing more frequent wildfires, severe storms and increased drought, according to a recent government-issued press release.

Francis Drouin, parliamentary secretary to Canada's minister of agriculture, announced the launch of the new Agricultural Methane Reduction Challenge. Through this initiative, up to $12 million will be awarded to innovators advancing low-cost and scalable practices, processes, and technologies designed to reduce methane emissions produced by cattle.

The Agricultural Methane Reduction Challenge builds on the successes of existing industry commitments on the environment. Livestock producers and industry groups are setting voluntary targets and goals to reduce emissions and these commitments are already seeing results. For example, the Canadian Beef Advisors has a 2030 goal of reducing emission intensity from primary beef production by 33%, while the Dairy Farmers of Canada have set a goal to reach net-zero by 2050. The challenge has been designed in collaboration with the sector to accelerate these successes, spur innovation and reduce emissions.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada invites all those with innovative solutions to reduce methane emissions produced by cattle to apply.

"Canadian farmers and ranchers are stewards of the most sustainable cattle in the world, and are continually doing more to meet the global demand for our world-class products," said Lawrence MacAulay, Canada's minister of agriculture. "By partnering with the sector, we can move further and faster to reduce agricultural methane emissions, and the new Agricultural Methane Reduction Challenge will help the sector continue to grow, while contributing to Canada's 2030 methane reduction goals." 

"At the forefront of agricultural sustainability, our cattle industry in Canada are setting global benchmarks," added Drouin. "The new Agricultural Methane Reduction Challenge will drive further innovation in the sector to help fulfil a growing demand from consumers who are asking for Canadian sustainable beef and dairy industries."

"Canadian beef producers are global leaders in environmental stewardship and have half the world average of greenhouse gas emissions per pound of beef," said Nathan Phinney, president, Canadian Cattle Association. "The new Agricultural Methane Reduction Challenge is well aligned with our beef sector's 2030 goals and we look forward to continuing to work with government to find innovations to help further reduce beef cattle's emissions intensity."

"Dairy farmers' progress in terms of reducing our carbon footprint is in large part because farmers embrace innovation and research," said David Wiens, president, Dairy Farmers of Canada. "They do not shy away from applying new technologies and progressive ideas on their farms in order to improve their production and to protect the land and the environment. The Challenge announced today will add to our toolbox and help us on our journey towards reaching net zero 2050."

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