From McGill via Montreal Gazette: “McGill gets $3 million to fund research into cutting greenhouse gases”

McGill University

McGill University

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Montreal Gazette

June 14, 2017
John Meagher

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McGill professor Grant Clark displays human waste used as biosolids for fertilizer, on test fields at Macdonald campus on Monday. The federal government is investing in the university to conduct research on greenhouse gas mitigation in agriculture. Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette

McGill University researchers at Macdonald campus in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue got some welcome news Monday when the federal government announced nearly $3 million in funding for research projects that will help farmers cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Local Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia and Jean-Claude Poissant, Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Agriculture, announced $2.9 million in funding at a press conference for two McGill projects aimed at mitigating greenhouse gas emissions caused by water and fertilizer use in agriculture.

Scarpaleggia said the funding will “enable our agricultural sector to be a world leader and to develop new clean technologies and practices to enhance the economic and environmental sustainability of Canadian farms.”

A project led by Prof. Chandra Madramootoo, of McGill’s Department of Bioresource Engineering, will receive more than $1.6 million to study the effects of different water management systems in Eastern Canada.

The aim is to provide information on water-management practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while increasing agricultural productivity.

The second project, headed by McGill Prof. Grant Clark, also of the Department of Bioresource Engineering, will receive $1.3 million. The project will research best management practices for the use of municipal bio-solids, a by-product of wastewater treatment plants, as a crop fertilizer.

“I’m a firm believer in science-based policy,” Clark said. “And we require the support of government to develop the knowledge to promote that policy.

“I would also like to acknowledge the government’s support of real concrete action to (address) climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Clark said the research project will examine how to “reduce, reuse, recycle, reclaim” the use of nutrients and organics in agriculture

“If were are going to develop a sustainable agricultural system, we must be conscious of how we conserve resources, reduce inputs as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build and preserve the health of our soils,” he said.

“We are interested in linking the intensive food production required to support a growing global population with the recycling of organic wastes from our municipal centres,” Clark added.

“The objective of the program is to use the residual solids from the treatment of municipal waste waters, or biosolids, as fertilizers for agricultural production. So this mirrors the natural cycling of nutrients or organic carbon that we see in nature. However, we can’t just go out and poop in the field. The cycle is a little more involved in order that we preserve public health and hygiene.”

Scarpaleggia described the research work being done at the Macdonald campus in Ste-Anne as “world class.”

“The federal government has always recognized the enormous value of Macdonald campus as a world-class research facility,” said the MP for Lac-St-Louis riding.

“They’re doing groundbreaking work here in any areas of agriculture, including water management, which is a particular interest of mine. So it’s very important to channel some research funds to Macdonald campus.”

Scarpaleggia said the McGill projects being funded by federal government will promote job growth in the green economy.

“As we move ahead with climate change policies, we are, as a consequence, stimulating research, stimulating industrial innovation. We’re making that jump to the green economy with all its benefits in terms of employment and high value-added jobs.”

The federal funding, which comes from the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), was made on behalf of Lawrence MacAuley, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

“The Government of Canada continues to invest in research with partners like McGill University in order to provide our farmers with the best strategies for adapting to climate change and for producing more quality food for a growing population while keeping agriculture clean and sustainable,” said Poissant.

The AGGP is $27-million initiative aimed at helping the agricultural sector adjust to climate change and improve soil and water conservation. McGill’s agronomists and scientists are involved in 20 new research projects being conducted across Canada, from British Columbia to the Maritimes.

See the full article here .

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