NFU: Ontario calls on farmers to take climate action

WEST CARLETON – In 2015, National Farmers Union – Ontario (NFU-O) board member Ayla Fenton would be found daily hand-watering and irrigating her crops.

They had no rainfall from May until August. It was the most extreme drought her land had experienced in more than 200 years, and it was the first time she faced the impact of climate change first-hand. The following year was the exact opposite; the growing season was so wet that the fields flooded and set a record for the most precipitation in 150 years.

“Young farmers are disproportionately affected by climate change. It gives me anxiety to be starting a career with such a scary future,” says Fenton. “But I also saw farming as the only career path in which I could do something about it.”

Throughout its history, the NFU-O has emphasized sustainability and food sovereignty, and many members are already putting low-carbon production into action on their own farms. Farmers are in a unique position to change some habits in small ways that can collectively make a significant impact. Simple acts such as using more cover crops, ploughing less, and increasing tree areas through reforestation all are significant ways to improve Canadian farmers’ ability to be leaders in climate action.

The NFU-O has received funding through the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s Climate Action Fund to educate and encourage farmers to take action in their everyday farming practices, reducing their climate impact. The NFU-O held 11 Kitchen Table Meetings across the province this spring and reached nearly 300 farmers and food producers who are pledging to dedicate themselves to practices that encourage climate action.

“The success of individual farmers comes from the community behind them, allowing for that knowledge transfer and skill sharing. This funding supports a network of farmers working together and showing each other what can be done to mitigate climate change,” Fenton said. “While we are facing the largest crisis of our generation, I have been impressed with our young farmers who are growing food while also actively fighting climate change.”

For more information about this project and to take the pledge, please visit our website at