Canada and U.S. to invest heavily in ‘climate-smart’ agriculture

Canada backed a controversial initiative aimed at boosting countries' support for high-tech farming methods designed to reduce emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change on farms and food on Tuesday.

The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM4C) initiative developed by the United States and the United Arab Emirates encourages participating countries and businesses to invest heavily in "climate-smart" agriculture within the next five years. The $4-billion program will foster new scientific breakthroughs through support for public and private agricultural research centers and help farmers access them.

"As stewards of the land, farmers are on the front lines of climate change," said U.S. President Joe Biden, speaking at a closed plenary session at the ongoing COP26 meeting in Glasgow as he formally launched the program. According to its website, the new initiative will work with a "wide range of participants" — including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — to boost high-tech farming worldwide.

"The climate crisis threatens to disrupt food systems around the globe, exacerbate food insecurity, and negatively impact farmers' livelihoods," said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement. "We must invest in innovative, science-based solutions to help agriculture mitigate and adapt to climate change — that's what AIM is all about."

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is part of the initiative and is helping with efforts to quantify the amount of soil stored in pastures for cattle and other livestock, according to a statement by the department. The federal government has already announced about $550 million to support the development and adoption of new technologies and more sustainable land management practices, including this project, the ministry noted in an email.

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