The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Francis Drouin announced the launch of the new Agricultural Methane Reduction Challenge on Tuesday.

Through this initiative, up to $12 million will be awarded to innovators advancing low-cost and scalable practices, processes, and technologies designed to reduce methane emissions produced by cattle.

Drouin noted that Canadian beef now has the lowest carbon footprint in the world. 

"It's remarkable, but it's still not enough and farmers are the first to say so.  Agriculture is responsible for about a third of all of Canada's methane emissions and the majority of this methane comes from livestock. Methane is a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential that is more than 80 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. "

He says Canada's Agricultural Methane Reduction Challenge objective is to advance innovative, scalable and economically viable practices, processes, and technologies that will contribute to the net reduction of enteric methane emissions for the cattle sector. 

"The challenge has a $12 million budget, with both grand prize winner receiving up to $1 million each to bring their ideas to market. On top of the financial support, participants will receive mentoring and training from experts in the sector. At each stage,  projects will be evaluated by a jury of independent experts recommending which ideas should proceed to the next step. "

Canadian Cattle Association Director Kirk Jackson says Canada is a world leader when it comes to greenhouse gas emission reductions.

" For every pound of beef that we produce in Canada, we have less than half of the emissions of the world averages. We have very ambitious science-based goals to reduce our emissions again by 33% by  2030. "

He notes that this new ag methane challenge aligns well with the industry as it works to further reduce Canadian cattle emissions.

"In addition to funding, there are other opportunities for government to work with industry. Such as working on policies and regulations, ensuring that farmers and ranchers from innovations that will help us with our environmental footprint, and also ensure that we remain as competitive as we are globally. Working together to find strategies that both reduce emissions and increase efficiencies. Productivity will be essential for our long-term sustainability. "

Jackson added that the cattle industry is not part of the problem for greenhouse gases, they are part of the solution. 

Applications for Canada's Agricultural Methane Reduction Challenge are now being accepted and will close on February 7, 2024.

More information and application details can be found here.