Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
Farmers are on the front lines of worsening climate impacts, and face an increasing risk of wildfires and extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts. The best way to build climate resiliency across Canadian agriculture’s diversity of realities and landscapes is by developing and deploying solutions that are tailored for each region, led by farmers and farm groups themselves.
On March 18, 2021, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of $185 million over the next 10 years for the new Agricultural Climate Solutions (ACS) program.
The ACS program aims to establish a strong, Canada-wide network of regional collaborations led by farmers and including scientists and other sectoral stakeholders. Together, they will develop and share management practices that best store carbon and mitigate climate change. This work will also help protect biodiversity, improve water and soil quality, and strengthen farmers’ bottom lines. To be eligible for the ACS program, applicants must form a large network of partnerships within a province, including with agricultural non-profits, Indigenous organizations and environmental groups.
The program will proceed in two phases. The first phase, which will launch April 1st, aims to support the development of proposals focused on regional collaboration hubs, also known as “Living Labs,” by offering grants of up to $100,000.
The aim is for every province in Canada to have at least one collaboration hub. Each hub will centre on farms, where farmers and researchers can co-develop best practices, including cover crops, intercropping, conversion of marginal land to permanent cover, shelterbelts, nutrient management, and inclusion of pulses in rotations. Applicants will need to demonstrate their ability to engage with researchers and develop plans for knowledge transfer and adoption among their peers. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will host regional information sessions over the coming weeks.
The program’s second phase will open as early as Fall 2021. At this stage, applicant groups can submit their applications for funding support of up to $10 million per project. The ACS program is one of many important new initiatives being undertaken to promote environmental sustainability and resiliency in the agriculture sector, and is part of Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan to reduce greenhouse.
- The Agricultural Climate Solutions is based on an expanded model of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s “Living Labs” networks, already underway in Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island. The Living Labs model has been endorsed by the G20 as a model of innovation and collaborative research.
- Eligible recipients within a collaboration may include not-for-profit organizations, such as producer organizations, and Indigenous groups.
- The Government of Canada is investing more than $4 billion over the next 10 years (2021-2031) to establish a Natural Climate Solutions Fund and supporting activities to build a more resilient economy and a healthier, greener future with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Natural Resources of Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada.
- ACS is part of Canada’s $350-million investment over 10 years to help Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector meet our emission targets and capture new opportunities in the green economy.
- $185 million for ACS (this announcement)
- $165.7 million increase in the Agricultural Clean Technology Program that supports research, development and adoption of clean technologies.
- The ACS program complements Environment and Climate Change Canada’s ten year $631 million Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund which will support projects to restore, enhance and conserve wetlands, peatlands, grasslands and forests to store and capture carbon and enable reporting. These ecosystems are also a critically important habitat for Canada’s wildlife including migratory birds and species at risk.
- Natural Climate Solutions Fund
- Natural Resources Canada Growing Canada’s Forests program
- Environment and Climate Change Canada funding programs
- Living Laboratories Initiative
Full Press Release can be found here. Additional program information will be shared once announced by AAFC.
How to Apply
Projects in each province will be selected based on the potential to store carbon and/or reduce greenhouse gases. To be eligible for the Agriculture Climate Solutions program, applicants must form a large network of partnerships within a province, including with agricultural non-profits, Indigenous organizations and environmental groups. Non-repayable funding available through ACS will be deployed in several phases starting in April 2021.
Phase 1: Grant funding applications (April 1 to June 15, 2021) – AAFC is accepting proposals for grants of up to $100,000 from eligible organizations to support them in developing a network of participants, based on the living labs model, to develop and submit comprehensive project proposals for contribution funding to establish an ACS project.
Phase 2: Contribution funding applications (Fall 2021) – Applications for funding support of up to $10 million per project and, if requested, research and development support from a team of government department scientists led by AAFC, is slated to open in Fall 2021. It is expected that approved projects will start in the spring of 2022. The receipt of grant funding in Phase 1 will not be a requirement to apply for Phase 2 contribution funding and AAFC research and development support.
A second intake of grant applications and contribution funding applications for additional ACS projects will begin in spring 2022.