Sask. farmer adopting environmentally friendly agriculture heads to UN climate summit


A Saskatchewan farmer is one of six representatives sponsored by the National Farmers Union (NFU) to the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

“Any solution to tackle climate change must involve agriculture and that is why the National Farmers Union wants to be present at the summit of COP26,” said Glenn Wright, who grows wheat, grains, canola, lentils and forage crops near Delisle, Saskatchewan.

The summit, known as COP26 and delayed for a year by COVID-19, is being held in Glasgow, Scotland. It is intended to finalize the Paris Agreement rulebook, including how carbon trading can work between countries and what each country must report on progress towards climate goals. .

NFU delegates have observer status to monitor negotiations of state officials.

They will also speak at the People’s Climate Summit with other civil society groups at the event.

Wright says he hopes to gain a better understanding of climate action and that upon his return he plans to continue to encourage change in farming practices and domestic behaviors.

He says Canada should stick to its commitment, made under Stephen Harper’s government at the 2009 G20 Summit, to end all fossil fuel subsidies.

Wright has taken steps to reduce his consumption of fossil fuels. He uses solar panels and drives electric vehicles.

He also reduced the amount of fertilizer used in the fields by intercropping where he sows canola with legumes or a perennial forage cover like alfalfa.

“It takes nitrogen and makes it bioavailable to plants, so I don’t have to use nitrogen fertilizers made from natural gas,” Wright said.

Photos of intercrops of canola and lentils. (Photo submitted)

Wright says the drought caused some of his crops to produce only four bushels per acre and he was forced to sell part of his crop as fodder for animals instead of harvesting grain.

“The drought has been a very difficult year for prairie producers. Fortunately, I switched to minimum input farming, ”Wright said.

Agricultural emissions represent 24 percent of all emissions in Saskatchewan, depending on the province.

Emissions from the oil and gas industry are estimated at 30 percent and power generation at 20 percent.

“We need to tackle industrial pollution with much more vigor than focusing on individual residential actions,” Wright said.

With files from The Canadian Press