Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

June 28, 2005 14:13 ET

AAFC: Tipsheet-June 2005

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - June 28, 2005) -

Energy Patties

Research shows the manure from one cow produces enough energy to continuously power one house. According to a new pilot program by federal agriculture researchers, there is a renewable and abundant source of energy lying latent in farmers' fields. Through a process called anaerobic digestion, researchers are converting the carbon and energy naturally present in manure into useable energy. In this system, manure is taken from the barn or feedlot to an air-tight tank where the anaerobic digestion process takes place. Methane-rich biogas is produced and used to fuel an engine. The engine drives a generator, and the system produces heat and electricity that can be exported to a power grid. And as an added bonus, both the solid and fluid effluents produced in the digestion process have almost no pathogens and can be commercialized as fertilizer. Dr. Carlos Monreal of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says if one-third of all the manure produced in Canada were to be treated via anaerobic digestion, the country could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions associated with agriculture by at least one-third.

Transforming residues into apple aromas

A team of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists has developed an ingenious way to recycle olive cake, a paste residue from the manufacturing of cold-pressed virgin olive oil, and bagasse, a fibrous sugar cane residue. The researchers use these residues to grow a fungus whose enzymatic makeup makes it possible to transform the remaining oil to create various molecules that emit fruity aromas. Although apple aromas are currently being produced, it could also be possible to produce pear, orange, grape, banana, peach, raspberry, mint and even rum and butterscotch aromas, some of the most popular in the food industry. At present, the project is at the point of replacing "foreign" residues with "Canadian" ones. Like many processes that use less synthetic methods, higher costs are the main barrier to the commercialization of these aromatic products. However, innovative processes using local residues make it possible to provide consumers with aromatic products created from natural processes whose environmental impact is reduced. This is a step toward sustainable development for the Canadian food processing industry.

AAFC's Fresh Air Fleet

In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa is switching to biodiesel fuel. The farms' diesel vehicles and equipment use 60,000 litres of diesel fuel per year. The switch to a biodiesel B20 blend from April to October and a B5 blend from October to April will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 per cent. The farm receives its first shipment of biodiesel fuel in June. Although other federal departments use biodiesel fuel, the Central Experimental Farm is the first Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada site to implement it. With 210 ethanol 85 vehicles in its fleet, AAFC is the federal government leader in E-85 fuel consumption. Last year, the department's vehicles used 175,000 litres of E-85 fuel. This year, it is projected they will consume 200,000 litres. E-85 fuel is a mixture of 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per cent gasoline. It is used in flexible fuel vehicles which are designed to operate on up to 85 per cent ethanol fuel blends. When compared to regular vehicles, flexible vehicles reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 to 40 per cent.

Agriculture and Species at Risk Can Co-Exist

What better way to learn how agriculture and species at risk can co-exist than by an interactive game? Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has developed an online game targeted to prairie landowners, wildlife enthusiasts, farmers and youth. The game highlights key beneficial management practices for livestock and species at risk. Players are engaged by a humorous character-based storyline while learning about habitats for all species at risk in Southern Saskatchewan. Also, the game explains the factors that lead to the disappearance of animals from prairie grasslands and farmlands. This product, the first of its kind in the department, is funded by the Interdepartmental Recovery Fund (IRF) for Canadian Species at Risk. The game has been featured at Regina's Canadian Western Agribition, and at the Canada Pavilion at Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan. A second version of the game will highlight urban- rural issues in southern Ontario. Visit www.agr.gc.ca/pfra/hawk to see AAFC's newest Flash Animation project.

Shelterbelt Trees Trim Greenhouse Gases

In the open Prairies, trees are a valuable resource. This year, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Shelterbelt Centre in Indian Head, Sask., will distribute four million trees to farmers across the Prairies. For over a century, the centre has been promoting the environmental benefits of shelterbelts. By deflecting the wind, the belts create a well-protected zone extending outwards five times the height of the trees. As well as conserving soil and preventing wind erosion, shelterbelts and fieldbelts reduce greenhouse gas levels. Greenhouse gas levels are lowered when trees absorb carbon in the atmosphere. The Government of Canada is committed to reducing greenhouse gases through its Action Plan 2000 on Climate Change by enhancing its existing Prairie Shelterbelt Program in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia's Peace River Region. Since 1901, nearly 600 million trees have been distributed by the Shelterbelt Centre. These trees, if planted one metre apart, could circle the earth 15 times or reach the moon and half way back. Visit www.agr.gc.ca/pfra/shelterbelt.htm to find out more on the centre's activities.

Fun Facts

On Tree distribution & Environment

Did you know... a five-row shelterbelt of trees around a farm house can reduce by 25 per cent of the energy required to heat the house?

Did you know... that the net present value (NPV) of crop benefit of the 879 km of field belts planted in 2003 is $1.31 million?

Did you know... that the 19,866 hectares of land protected by field belts will conserve 3.58 million tonnes of topsoil over a 30 year period. At a value of $5/tonne, this represents a total topsoil value of $17.9 million?

Did you know... the trees distributed by the Sheleterbelt Centre in 2004 will absorb nearly 1.8 million tonnes of CO2 by 2054?

Did you know... since 1989, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Permanent Cover Programs have converted the equivalent of 653,000 soccer fields to permanent cover?

On the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA)

Did you know... the Canada-Saskatchewan Irrigation Diversification Centre in Outlook, Sask., is holding its Annual Field Day and Trade Show on Thursday, July 14, 2005 beginning at 9:30 a.m. with tours commencing at 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m?

Did you know... the PFRA Shelterbelt Centre's Agricultural Field Day will be held Thursday, July 21, 2005, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., in Indian Head, Sask?

Did you know... PFRA's 87 community pastures provide a home for over 50 species at risk including the ferruginous hawk, burrowing owl, swift fox, sage grouse and piping plover?

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa
    Media Relations
    (613) 759-7972 or 1-866-345-7972 (toll free)
    medias@agr.gc.ca