New study shows Ontario's farmers are environmental leaders



    Better farming practices reduce greenhouse gas emissions taking
    125,000 cars off the road

    GUELPH, ON, June 5 /CNW/ - A new study, Caring for the Land - Our Farm
Environmental Commitment, shows that Ontario's farmers are environmental
leaders.
    Greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by the equivalent of taking
125,000 cars off the road through improved soil conservation measures. Farmers
have spent at least $600 million on environmental improvements and 300,000
days in environmental training. Over 70% of them have voluntarily participated
in the Environmental Farm Plan program.
    "This report reveals the tip of the iceberg," stated Jackie Fraser,
Executive Director of Agricultural Groups Concerned About Resources and the
Environment (AGCare) who conducted the study. "There are so many farmers doing
great things for the environment; this report merely scratches the surface."
    The study was released today to celebrate Canadian Environment Week. The
entire report, a summary booklet, case studies, and other information are
available on www.caringfortheland.com - a new website also launched today.
    "Who in society is more dependent on a healthy environment than farmers?
Our families live, work, and play on our farms, and our livelihood depends on
healthy soil, air, and water," stated Murray Porteous, a fruit and vegetable
farmer. "Farmers know the importance of sustaining the quality of their
environment and treating it with respect."

    AGCare is an environmental organization that represents Ontario's 45,000
farmers, providing science and research-based information and policy
initiatives on environmental issues on behalf of its membership.
    Funding for this project was provided in part by Agriculture and
Agri-Food Canada through the Agricultural Adaptation Council.


    
                             CARING FOR THE LAND
                                 BACKGROUNDER

    AGCare's report, "Caring for the Land - Our Farm Environmental Commitment"
documents the environmental protection work of Ontario farmers through better
farming practices.

    NUMBERS YOU NEED TO KNOW

    Changes in farming practices have resulted in the following:

    Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    -   Conservation tillage allows a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
        of 125,000 cars or almost 3 of 4 cars on Toronto's Don Valley Parkway
    -   Over 600 kilotonnes of carbon not being released from the soil due to
        conservation tillage
    -   Reducing tillage conserves soil carbon reducing greenhouse gas
        emissions
    -   Almost 2/3 (63%) of Ontario's farmers use conservation tillage ("no
        till" or "reduced tillage") affecting nearly 4 million acres, roughly
        the size of Lake Ontario

    Investment - By Individual Farmers

    -   $600 million on individual on-farm environmental improvements
    -   $100 million through internationally recognized Environmental Farm
        Plan (EFP)
    -   Over 33,000 farmers (over 70% of Ontario's 45,000 farmers) have
        participated in the EFP and growing
    -   Farmers invest $3 for every $1 government programs invests in
        environmental programs

    Participation and Training

    -   300,000 days of environmental training such as Environmental Farm
        Plan workshops, Grower Pesticide Safety Course, and Nutrient
        Management Training

    Pesticide Reduction

    -   52% reduction in pesticide use
    -   All farmers purchasing and applying pesticides must be trained and
        certified every five years

    Mark Cullen supports the Environmental Farm Plan program

    -   Mark Cullen, best selling author and one of Canada's most prolific
        garden writers, supports the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) program.
        He has completed an EFP for his own farm. Mark provides environmental
        tips to gardeners based on the stewardship practices that the EFP
        promotes.
    





For further information:

For further information: or to reach a farmer in your area, contact:
Jackie Fraser, Executive Director, AGCare, Phone: (519) 837-1326, Cell: (519)
831-6557, jfraser@agcare.org

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AGCARE

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