Friday, June 7, 2017 


Farm News

How Green is Your House?

UBC greenhouse research adopts new tech practices

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


CAC members enjoying Little Mountain Greenhouses hospitality in 2014. Below, Kelowna MP Fuhr and UBC Kelowna principal.


armers know the importance of keeping the land, water and air healthy to sustain their farms from one generation to the next. They also know that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand-in-hand.

Member of Parliament Stephen Fuhr (Kelowna Lake Country) today announced a $1.4 million investment with the University of British Columbia to identify irrigation practices that can help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while increasing nitrogen and carbon storage in soil.


"We are looking at whether irrigation causes an increase or decrease in the storage of carbon and nitrogen in soil. Irrigation is essential to produce enough food to feed the growing global population, but we do not yet know enough about its effect on soil carbon storage. This study will start to give us a better idea, and hopefully lead to irrigation strategies to help retain more carbon and nitrogen in the soil," said Dr. Melanie Jones, Professor, University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus.

This project with the University of British Columbia is one of 20 new research projects supported by the $27 million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), a partnership with universities and conservation groups across Canada. The program supports research into greenhouse gas mitigation practices and technologies that can be adopted on the farm.


"We are delighted by this opportunity to collaborate with regional partners such as Agriculture and Agri -Food Canada's Summerland Research and Development Centre, the Okanagan Basin Water Board, and the Interior Health Authority. Thank you to the Government of Canada for its continued support of ground-breaking agricultural and climate change mitigation research at UBC," said Deborah Buszard, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus

The AGGP covers four priority areas of research: livestock systems, cropping systems, agricultural water use efficiency and agro-forestry. The new AGGP investments will continue to support the work of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, which brings together 47 countries to find ways to grow more food without growing greenhouse gas emissions.


Little Mountain Greenhouses flowers.


"Canadian farmers are great stewards of the land and the environment. These new investments are part of the government's commitment to addressing climate change and ensuring our farmers are world leaders in the use and development of clean and sustainable technology and processes," aid Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

The 20 new research projects supported by AGGP span from coast-to-coast, from the University of British Columbia to collaborative research with conservation groups in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. They range in scope from studying GHG emissions from blueberry, potato and forage crops in B.C. to planting willow trees in areas irrigated by rivers in the Atlantic as a means to sequester carbon.

Most of the research work on this project led by the University of British Columbia will take place in the Okanagan Valley. This project will provide new science-based knowledge for farmers looking to manage soil and water resources more effectively with the goal of improving nutrient-use efficiency, reducing inputs of fertilizer and lowering GHG emissions.

UBC researchers Melanie Jones, Louise Nelson and Nathan Pelletier received this five-year funding from the program to study the effects of long-term irrigation on soil carbon and nitrogen stocks in the Okanagan Valley, along with some life cycle assessments of irrigation and mulches. Soil holds almost three times as much carbon as the atmosphere, making it the third largest pool of carbon on Earth. Good agricultural practices can help remove carbon from the atmosphere and move it into soil, while poor practices can release it from soil into the atmosphere.


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