PORT OF JOHNSTOWN, ONTARIO, CANADA — The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has launched a new C$165.7 million Agricultural Clean Technology Program.

The goal is to help create climate-smart agriculture through research, innovation and adoption of clean technologies, including dedicated support for farmers to help reduce grain drying costs.

During a virtual visit at the Port of Johnstown, an intermodal port on the St. Lawrence Seaway and the largest grain storage facility in Eastern Ontario, Neil Ellis, parliamentary secretary, announced the program is now open to applicants.

This new program provides farmers and agri-businesses with access to funding to help develop and adopt clean technologies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and enhance their competitiveness. It will allocate C$50 million specifically for the purchase of more efficient grain dryers.

According to the AAFC, the agriculture sector has generated approximately 10% of Canada’s GHG emissions since 1990.

The new program has two funding streams:

  • The Adoption Stream will support the purchase and installation of proven clean technologies and solutions that show reductions in GHG emissions.
  • The Research and Innovation Stream will support pre-market innovation, including research, development, demonstration and commercialization of agricultural clean technologies.

“Our farmers and agri-food businesses here in Ontario and across the nation constantly innovate and find new approaches to sustainably feed Canada and the world,” Ellis said. “Through the new Agricultural Clean Technology program, the government of Canada is continuing to support their efforts by encouraging research, development and adoption of clean technologies to help protect the environment and grow their businesses. We also recognize that many farmers use natural gas and propane in their operations, which is why the Government of Canada has made grain drying a priority focus under the program and also committed to returning a portion of the proceeds from the price on pollution directly to farmers.”

The Canadian government also plans to return a portion of the proceeds from the price on pollution directly to farmers in backstop jurisdictions, currently Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario, beginning in 2021-22. It is estimated farmers would receive C$100 million in the first year. Returns in future years will be based on proceeds from the price on pollution collected in the prior fiscal year and are expected to increase as the price on pollution rises.

The AAFC estimates this program has the potential to reduce up to 1 megaton of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide equivalent) from the Earth’s atmosphere.