Do livestock fit into Ontario’s future?
Commentary by Mike McMorris, LRIC CEO
On a recent morning, I read two articles that present drastically different visions of agriculture in Ontario. The first is short-term and predicted a record 2022 planting of 2.27 million acres of corn, up 5.8% over 2021 despite the steep rise on input costs.
The second, longer-term, is a report called Recruiting Soil to Tackle Climate Change: A Roadmap for Canada prepared by the Soil Conservation Council of Canada along with Compost Council of Canada. You can check it out on our website.
The focus of this report is on soil health with a particular focus on soil organic carbon (SOC). A few points stood out to me:
- The SOC level in western Canada continues to rise while that in southern Ontario and along the St Lawrence is in steep decline
- Livestock, rotational grazing and manure management in particular, are included as means to improve SOC
- Making change involves many factors including research, policy, markets pull and successful knowledge transfer
The livestock sector in Ontario is a key element of Ontario’s environment. We need to work together to seize opportunities such as a focus on soil health to ensure that we are a key element of Ontario’s future.