Mitigation Activities in Agriculture

Management practices can be employed in all agricultural sectors that will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, increase soil carbon sequestration in land, and contribute biomass feed stocks for energy use (IPCC, 2007). As well, water conservation and adjustments to planting and harvesting dates could address losses associated with moisture limitations in the future (Warren et al., 2004).
Through implementation of Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs), several mitigation strategies are already in place or under review (list adapted from Beyond Kyoto, 2008; IPCC 2014):
  • More efficient use of commercial nitrogen (N) fertilizers: this can be achieved through adjustment of application rates, application methods, time of application, use of inhibitors, new proposed technologies, etc.
  • Drainage management to reduce emissions, reduce N runoff leaching.
  • Expanded soil survey providing landscape information required for sound management decisions. 
  • Anaerobic digesters to capture methane (CH4) from manures to produce on-farm energy.
  • Composting manure to produce fewer GHG emissions than when it is stockpiled.
  • Biofuels to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and decrease CO2 emissions.
  • Livestock feeding and grazing strategies to improve feed efficiency and reduce enteric CH4 emissions.
  • Improved handling and storage of manure, such as composting and utilizing manure storage covers.
  • Reduction of tillage practices to prevent soil erosion, conserve soil moisture, reduce fossil fuel use and regain lost soil carbon.
  • Controlled stubble burning to prevent the release of carbon from crop residues into the atmosphere.
  • Mixed production systems such as double-cropping and mixed crop-livestock systems can increase land productivity, efficiency and carbon sequestration.
  • Increased use of perennial forages and legumes in crop rotations to generate N in the soil and reduce N2O emissions from subsequent N fertilizer use, and to build soil carbon.
  • Land management practices for carbon sequestration: wetland restoration, permanent cover, afforestation, riparian area improvement, replanting to native grasses and trees, etc.
  • Organic farming.
Manitoba has supported several Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) over the last five years (2018-2023) through the Ag Action Manitoba Program that funded several projects with regard to climate change and greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions in agriculture. These on-farm projects that were offered through the Watershed EGS and BMPs activities highlight the issues and possible solutions to reduce risks and increase opportunities associated with climate change. A number of ongoing and new actions under Sustainable CAP, including Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program (RALP), Sustainable Agriculture Manitoba (SAM)  and Sustainable Agri-Processing (SAP) will help to reduce overall emissions from the agriculture and agri-food processing sectors. Manitoba also continues to support on-farm climate-friendly BMPs in watershed districts through Growing Outcomes in Watersheds (GROW) and Watershed Districts Programming.
The Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) process continues to enable farmers to assess environmental risks on their operations and make improvements. Manitoba Agriculture launched an online version of the EFP in October 2022.  
In the past, Manitoba Agriculture applied Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) to evaluate the environmental impact of grain and oilseed production, as well as forage and livestock production. The goal was to develop an LCA model that can be used to evaluate how management practices contribute to various environmental outcomes in agricultural sectors.