Industry Initiatives

Initiatives by other organizations to enhance the sustainability of the Canadian Grains sector.

The following initiatives by the Canadian agriculture industry are referred to in various sustainability reports. The summaries are not exhaustive and are for your information only. If you are interested in initiative details, please consult the organization responsible by clicking on the URL provided.If you are aware of other sustainability initiatives that would be of interest to users of the Canadian Grains Sustainability platform, please contact the CRSC.
4R Nutrient Stewardship
Right source, right rate, right time, right place.

In line with the need to manage nutrients to limit their loss to the environment, 4R Nutrient Stewardship is a science-based approach that applies best management practices to optimize plant nutrient availability so growers can sustainably increase yields and profitability on their farms. By implementing 4R Nutrient Stewardship, growers are better able to balance the environmental, economic and social goals of crop production. The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Program is active in many countries (

The 4R Nutrient Stewardship framework encompasses the four main principles of fertilizer application and is designed to link the practices used to manage nutrients in the cropping system to an integrated approach.

  • The Right Source means ensuring a balanced supply of essential plant nutrients including granular or liquid or other forms of fertilizers or manures
  • The Right Rate is applying just enough fertilizer to meet the needs of the plant while accounting for nutrients already in the soil
  • The Right Time means applying fertilizer when the plant will get the most benefit and avoiding times when fertilizer can be lost to the environment
  • The Right Place is applying fertilizer where the plants can easily access the fertilizer and where it is less likely to be lost to the water or air 

Every farm and every field is different. 4R Nutrient Stewardship promotes the use of Certified Crop Advisers to help farmers assess soil and environmental conditions to develop a customized nutrient management plan that is site-specific. Based on feedback, adjustments in practices, research and extension programming is made to further enhance sustainability on-farm. mental concerns related to agriculture.

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Bees Matter
Provison of information to improve the health of honey bees

Bees Matter offers information about honeybees in Canada and the factors affecting colony health, as well as the details of the commitment of the agriculture industry to ensure that hives across the country stay safe and thrive. It involves beekeepers, scientists, environmentalists and everyday Canadians working together to improve honeybee health.

It’s an initiative to shed light on the many factors affecting honeybee health, and to do so based on a foundation of good science. 

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Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council (CAHRC)
Canada's agriworkforce centre of excellence

The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) is Canada’s agriworkforce centre of excellence. Through collaboration and partnership with industry associations, educational institutions, and government departments the organization developed different tools and training programs to support farmers in the management of their workforce. The tools and programs offered include:

  • AgriJobMatch
  • AgriTalent
  • Turnover Calculator
  • AgriHR Toolkit
  • Benchmarking Tool
  • AgriLMI
  • AgriJobs
  • AgriSkills
  • AgriWorkForce Diversity  
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Canadian Agriculture Safety Association (CASA)
Dedicated to improving farm safety

The Canadian Agriculture Safety Association (CASA) is a national, not-for-profit organization that promotes farm safety to the agricultural sector.

CASA’s vision is a country where no one is hurt farming and CASA works with partners in government, business, and farming organizations across the country to support initiatives that equip producers, their families and their workers with the information and tools needed to make farms a safe place to live, work and play. 

Among other activities, their mandate includes:

  • Promoting farm safety education for youth through support of the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program;
  • Collecting and analyzing Canadian agricultural fatality data;
  • Raising awareness about the need for safety in the agricultural community through Canadian Agricultural Safety Week;
  • Bringing together safety champions from across the country to network on safety issues via CASA’s annual farm safety conference and Annual General Meeting;
  • Developing farm safety tools and resources to help make farms safer, including CASA’s keystone business-risk management tool, the Canada FarmSafe Plan; a National Occupational Standard for businesses looking to hire an Agricultural Occupational Health and Safety Specialist; and farm safety training courses; and
  • Developing and rolling out the BeGrainSafe program, focused on preventing grain entrapment.  
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Industry stewardship organization that provides services for the management of agricultural waste

CleanFARMS is a not-for-profit industry stewardship organization that contributes to environmental responsibility through the proper management of agricultural waste. CleanFARMS partners with retailers and municipalities to collect and recycle empty commercial pesticide and fertilizer containers at approximately 1000 collection sites across Canada.

CleanFARMS also operates an unwanted/obsolete pesticide collection and safe disposal program, with each province in Canada provided with collection services every three years.

CleanFARMS collects and disposes of used pesticide bags in Eastern Canada.  

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Environmental Farm Plans
A voluntary, whole-farm, self-assessment tool that helps farmers and ranchers identify and build on environmental strengths, as well as mitigate risks on their operations.

The Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) is a voluntary, whole-farm, self-assessment tool that helps Canadian producers identify and build on environmental strengths, as well as mitigate risks on their operations. Delivered at the provincial and territorial level, the EFP process spreads awareness and provides environmental education, practical and proven best management practices, regulation and cost-sharing incentives. The EFP is specifically designed to support producers with continuous improvement.

In 2011, the Statistics Canada Farm Environmental Management Survey showed that 35% of Canadian farmers and ranchers had completed an EFP. A survey of 1600 grain producers in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta was conducted in 2017. Sixty-seven (67) percent of respondents indicated that they had completed an EFP.

Although the EFP tool varies by province in consideration of the differing agricultural land base and practices, Canadian EFP’s cover the following topics within all, or almost all (8 or more) jurisdictions:

Water -  Water Wells; Stream, Ditch and Floodplain Management;Irrigation; Farm Wastewater / Washwater; Treatment of Household Wastewater; Water Use Efficiency

Air & Climate - Energy Efficiency; Open Burning; Odour

Soil - Water Erosion;Tillage Erosion; Soil Nutrients; Soil Structure; Field Windbreaks; Farmstead Windbreaks

Biodiversity - Non-Cultivated Lands; Wetlands and Ponds; Riparian Areas

Crop Management - Crop Rotation; Managing Nutrients in Growing Crops; Pest Management; Greenhouse Crops; Pesticide Handling and Storage; Seeding; Equipment Maintenance; Field Horticultural Crops; Fertilizer Handling and Storage; Storage of Petroleum Products

Livestock Management - Intensive Livestock Operations; Pasture & Grazing Management; Livestock Wintering Sites; Storage and Feeding of Silage;Disposal of Livestock Mortalities; Veterinary Materials Waste

Manure Management - Structure of Manure Storage Facilities; Composting; Nutrient Management Planning; Application Methods;  Manure Handling and Transport

Other - Disposal of Inorganic Farm Waste; Nuisances and Normal Farm Practices;  Emergency Planning  

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Field to Market Canada
Focused on the development of market-driven, science and outcomes-based metrics and tools measuring the environmental performance of Canadian crop production.

Field to Market Canada is a collaborative alliance of grower organizations, agribusinesses, food companies and conservation organizations working together to define and measure the sustainability of Canadian crop production. The key goal of Field to Market Canada is to meet the demand for sustainability information from consumers and food companies worldwide, and to this end, is engaged in the development of macro-level sustainability indicators, and an on-farm sustainability calculator, for Canadian crop production. 

Field to Market Canada has developed indicators of environmental sustainability for production of major crops in Ontario and the Prairie Provinces. These indicators quantify the environmental impacts of crop production practices in the areas of Land Use Efficiency, Soil Erosion, Soil Organic Carbon Change, Energy Use and Climate Impact. Indicators of Biodiversity and Water Quality are in development. These indicators are applied both regionally and at field level, with the field-level indicators being implemented through the Canadian Field Print Calculator. The Calculator enables individual producers to confidentially input information on farm management practices, and learn about sustainability outcomes on their farms, including

  • Compare the sustainability outcomes on their farms to local and regional averages
  • Compare their sustainability outcomes over time
  • Compare the sustainability outcomes of alternative management scenarios on their farms

In its essence, the Canadian Field Print Calculator requires information on farming practices, soil, topography and climate to estimate the sustainability of production, on the five CFPI indicators. Information on farming practices, such as tillage practices, field operations and fertilizer application, are input by the producer. Details of soil and topography on the farm can be input by the farmer, or default data will be accessed by the Calculator from external databases, based on field location. Producers using the Calculator receive a detailed report of their performance on each of the five sustainability indicators, including a quantitative comparison to the regional average value.

The Calculator is being used in pilot projects in Ontario and the Prairie Provinces by producers and buyers in specific markets. These pilot projects are coordinated by grower organizations, individual companies and other CFPI participants. The pilots will ultimately provide regional data sets generated by the Calculator from field-level data. Each pilot project provides for peer group benchmarking. Growers compare their results anonymously with other farms in their region. Information is shared between participating growers in a workshop highlighting how best management practices lead to increased profitability and better environmental outcomes.

Information on fertilizer management is crucial to understanding how Canadian crop production is performing in terms of productivity, greenhouse gas emissions and water quality impacts. In order to quantify the impact of current practices, and identify strategies to make further improvements in fertilizer management practices, Canadian agricultural researchers, policy makers and representatives of the agriculture industry require information on the current state of fertilizer management in Canadian crop production. In its work developing macro-level sustainability indicators for Canadian crop production, the CFPI identified that there was a lack of comprehensive data on fertilizer management practices at a national level. To address this data gap, the CFPI has conducted the Fertilizer Use Survey for each of the crop years from 2014 to 2017, as follows:

  • 2014-15 – Western Canada (canola, spring wheat and peas), Eastern Canada (corn and soybeans)
  • 2015-16 - Western Canada (barley, canola and soybeans), Eastern Canada (corn and winter wheat)
  • 2016-17 – Western Canada (canola, lentils, durum wheat and spring wheat), Eastern Canada (corn and soybeans)
  • 2017-18 – Western Canada (canola, oats and grain corn), Eastern Canada (corn and hay)

The Fertilizer Use Survey provides a robust data set describing the current state of nutrient management practices in Canadian crop production. These results are being used to calculate updated FIeld to Market macro-level indicators in 2018, as fertilizer management data is fundamental to estimates of greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and water quality. The data is also being used by researchers, industry representatives and government officials for information on current fertilizer management practices in Canada.

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Keep it Clean!
Information and strategies to manage the use of crop protection products to meet market requirements

Keep it Clean! is an industry initiative to maintain Canada’s reputation as a high quality supplier of grains and oilseeds by carefully managing crop protection products for quality oilseeds, cereals and pulses.

It advocates management strategies such as only using products that are registered for the crop, consulting the label for proper rates and timing and application prior to pre-harvest intervals. Multiple industry organizations are involved in this initiative. 

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