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Soil should be a strategic national asset: Senate ag committee

The two-year study of Canada's soils is now complete and recognizes that while conservation efforts over recent decades have been tremendous there is still more to be done.
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A newly-released report from the Senate ag committee requests that the federal government designate soil as a strategic national asset and that the country have a national soil advocate, similar to Australia.

REGINA —The Canadian Senate agriculture committee has released 25 recommendations to protect the country’s soils.

Chief among them are requests that the federal government designate soil as a strategic national asset and that the country have a national soil advocate, similar to Australia.

The committee also called on the federal government to reinstate the .

comes after two years of hearings and study.

It notes that since 1984, when Saskatchewan senator Herb Sparrow led the groundbreaking , soil management has improved and crop yield has increased with the widespread adoption of no-till farming.

However, “these gains have also masked the effect of continued soil degradation and loss of agricultural land in every region of Canada.”

It said climate change and extreme weather events, urbanization, and misread outcomes of soil management practices are contributing to those concerns.

“We do not have another 40 years to protect and conserve soil. We must act now.”

The report said Canada requires an overarching strategy to collect better data. It says a national soils institute database that shares information with provinces, academics and producers should be established.

Other recommendations include the creation of a viable carbon market for producers and a crop insurance program that incentivizes ecological goods and services provided by producers.

More to come.

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