Responsible Grain is a national Code of Practice used by farmers to foster continuous improvement in growing high-quality food that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

How Canadian grain farmers are protecting the environment

Did you know…

As caretakers of the land, Canadian farmers adopt best practices and technologies that protect our environment, resulting in healthier soil, fewer GHG emissions and reduced water use. For example, modern farming practices are increasing soil health by building up soil organic matter and reducing soil  erosion caused by water and wind. This means soil is also able to sequester more carbon dioxide every year.

More than half of Canada’s farmers have adopted practices that protect soil health and water quality. For example, minimal tillage reduces soil disruption, keeping Canada’s nutrient rich land in place to produce high-quality grain (instead of being lost with wind and water erosion).

Canadian farmers continually integrate technology and improved processes on their operations. A recent Canadian survey showed that approximately 85% of respondents are using some type of precision tool or service on their farm. Farmers are using technologies such as GPS to bring increasing precision to their practices. Farmer adoption of technology like GPS and unmanned aerial vehicles means they’re reducing GHG emissions even more.

Most Canadian grain relies on the environment for rain. Approximately 1% of crop land in Canada is irrigated.

Farmers are using modern technology to reduce the amount of farmland needed to produce food. For example, 50% more farmland would be needed in Canada to grow what we do today without the use of modern technologies. That’s more than the combined area of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Less tillage and more direct seeding on Canadian farmland have also meant burning far less fuel. In fact, minimum tillage saves more than 170 million liters of fuel from being burned in Canada per year.

What is it?

Responsible Grain is a national set of standards that contains both required and recommended practices. Several requirements are regulations or best practices that many Canadian farmers already follow. Recommended practices help farmers go even further to both protect and improve the health of our environment, while producing food efficiently.

Why is it being developed?

Responsible Grain is being developed to proactively promote continuous improvement in the environmental sustainability and social responsibility of Canadian farms. The Code of Practice also addresses issues that are of interest or concern to grain buyers and consumers, both in Canada and in export markets.

Who is developing it?

The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops (CRSC) is leading the development of Responsible Grain. The Responsible Grain Code of Practice is being developed using the best available science and through consultation with a broad range of stakeholders, including farmers, scientists, customers, and non-government organizations with an interest in agricultural sustainability. This helps ensure the standards are supported throughout the industry and by society.

When will it launch?

Thorough consultations with farmers and other stakeholders will take place before the final version is launched.

How will the Code of Practice be kept current?

Implementation of the practices will be measured over time using the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops (CRSC) Metrics Platform to monitor and promote continuous improvement. The standards in Responsible Grain will be kept current and will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis, giving farmers the most current science-based information to optimize stewardship practices. Since Responsible Grain is intended to enhance the practices already followed by farmers, consumers can be confident that Canadian grains are grown in a manner that protects our environment.