Farming collaboration that brought P.E.I. scientists to the fields celebrates success
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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — A groundbreaking initiative that noticed farmers working alongside scientists to enhance soil and water high quality in Atlantic Canada is increasing and starting a brand new spherical of initiatives targeted on carbon sequestration.
Dwelling Lab Atlantic was the primary of 4 residing lab networks that sprouted up throughout Canada in 2019.
The preliminary spherical of initiatives was targeted on bettering water high quality and soil well being and wrapped up by growing eight new best-management practices, because of the work of farmers and 14 companions together with researchers and group organizations that labored on trials in 128 fields.
“The good half about it’s, we’re attempting to assist individuals notice on the finish of the day, farmers are attempting to develop meals,” stated Andrea McKenna, government director of the East Prince Agri-Setting Affiliation, proprietor of Bunny Burrow vegetable farm and mother of three.
McKenna led a gathering in Charlottetown on March 28 to wrap up the Dwelling Lab Atlantic mission and launch the brand new section titled, Agricultural Local weather Options.
“We preserve utilizing the phrase agriculture, and I hear the phrase commodities, however it’s meals. We’re rising meals.” – Andrea McKenna
“We preserve utilizing the phrase agriculture, and I hear the phrase commodities, however it’s meals,” stated McKenna when she spoke to SaltWire Community because the assembly dispersed.
“We’re rising meals, and it’s a really complicated setting we’re working in as a result of not solely are we working with Mom Nature who unleashes no matter she needs, each time she needs, we’re additionally coping with risky markets. We’re all – each farm – confronted with actually difficult HR points proper now, an absence of staff … so we’d like assist. And a community like that is doing simply that. It’s offering a lot assist to farmers.”
By bringing farmers and researchers collectively to plan and execute the initiatives, relationships naturally developed. McKenna stated farmers are actually reaching out to their analysis companions and group teams for recommendation on new challenges that they may not have earlier than.
Yefang Jiang, a hydrogeologist with Agriculture and AgriFood Canada, participated in Dwelling Labs Atlantic and stated he want to do extra sooner or later.
“Working on the analysis farm, we have been form of disconnected,” stated Jiang in a video offered on the assembly. “However now we’re at their farms, and we work together with them. I actually realized a whole lot of issues we didn’t take into consideration earlier than. It’s very priceless. For instance, they’re juggling so many various issues. They must take care of the climate, seed, fertilizer, advertising and marketing, accounting – every part. We on the analysis farm, we have been solely targeted on the science half, we have been form of, like, in several worlds. So now we are attempting to get collectively to regulate our frequent pursuits.”
Jonathan MacLennan, a fourth-generation potato farmer in West Cape, stated up to now, farmers may need stored their secrets and techniques near their chests. That’s altering regularly, and the Dwelling Labs Atlantic helps.
“Dwelling Labs is a good way to have a bridge between researchers and the precise producers. There’s all the time been a little bit of a niche there, however the previous couple of years, there’s been a whole lot of completely different organizations bridging that hole asking the farmers what sort of analysis they’d love to do after which additionally asking the researchers what sort of analysis they might do and seeing if the farmers are fascinated with it,” stated MacLennan, within the video offered on the assembly.
“Over the entire group, we are able to attempt a whole lot of various things after which we are able to share with the group and with others. … It’s a good way of doing issues. There’s much more info getting shared than there ever was earlier than.
“The precise work we’re doing is bettering our backside line, or decreasing our prices, so on the finish of the day, it’s simply bettering our funding.”
Do you know?
Agricultural Local weather Options would be the new title for the Dwelling Labs Atlantic. It has grown from a handful of networks just like the preliminary Dwelling Labs Atlantic right into a nationwide community with energetic teams is every province of Canada.
The objectives are to sequester carbon, mitigate greenhouse gasoline emissions, enhance soil well being and water high quality and assist biodiversity. The Agricultural Local weather Options mission continues to be searching for farmers to take part, particularly beef, dairy and crop producers.
E-mail [email protected] for extra info.
Tasks will deal with six primary areas of analysis:
- Livestock feeding methods
- Rotational grazing
- Pure carbon sinks
- Various soil amendments
- Cowl crop administration methods
- Refining nitrogen administration
Alison Jenkins is a enterprise reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. She will be reached by e-mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @ReporterAlison.