Fertilizer Canada Report Found To Be Flawed 

In December of 2020, the Government of Canada announced that it would set a fertilizer emissions reduction target of 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. The Government also stated it intended to work with fertilizer manufacturers, farmers, provinces, and territories to meet this goal.

In response to this announcement, Fertilizer Canada, a representative of manufacturers, wholesale and retail distributor of nitrogen, phosphate, potash and sulphur fertilizers, released their report: Implications of a Total Emissions Reduction Target on Fertilizer. The report predicted a $48 billion reduction in farmers’ incomes as a result of the Federal Government’s announcement.

In wake of this publication, there have been growing concerns from the agricultural industry about whether the target or the approach should be modified. Recent research, however, has revealed these fears about lost income are unfounded.

After consulting with leading academic researchers on fertilizer use and emissions, Farmers for Climate Solutions has concluded that Fertilizer Canada’s report made several errors and took shortcuts in the form of unsupported assumptions that compound into non-credible conclusions. Some of the report’s unfounded assumptions include:

  • A 20% reduction in fertilizer will mean a 20% reduction in yield. There is no evidence to support this assumption. Recent research has found that a reduction in nitrogen fertilizer use could be achieved with little to no impact on a farmer’s yield or profit.
  • Farmers will not adapt. The report just assumes that farmers will accept lower yields and doesn’t account for innovations, adaptations, and the creative business ideas that farmers are capable of.
  • Reducing fertilizer use will reduce farmers’ income. The report fails to acknowledge the money farmers would save without fertilizer costs and therefore overestimates the negative effects fertilizer reduction will have on farmers’ net incomes.

Farmers for Climate Solutions concluded that the report is not backed by evidence and did not contribute to a meaningful debate on the best way to curb fertilizer emissions in Canada. 

You can view the full Farmers for Climate Solution’s full analysis of the report here: 

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