Quebec Regenerative Dairy Farm Pilot Project

Quebec Regenerative Dairy Farm Pilot Project

To improve the overall health of Quebec’s dairy farms, including the economic viability of operations, net zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), a positive ecological footprint for the sector, with human and animal welfare at the heart of operations.

Dairy cows on pasture, credit: Pascal Viens

Description

This project aims to facilitate the adoption of regenerative practices by Quebec dairy farms in order to reduce the sector’s environmental footprint while increasing profitability and farm resilience to climate change. Dairy farms participating in this program will play a leadership role in the regenerative movement within their communities and the industry.


Objectives:

  • Support and accompany farmers in accessing the necessary resources (technical, financial, social) to facilitate the transition to regenerative agriculture.

  • Apply a comprehensive approach to quantify the environmental and economic impact of regenerative practices on dairy farms and optimize decision-making for implementation of new practices.

The stakeholders

General Mills, Logiag and Regeneration Canada are partnering with the province’s dairy farmers to better understand the needs, barriers and best practices associated with regenerative agriculture in Quebec.

A dairy farmer-led pilot project

In 2022, 32 farms joined the Regenerative Dairy Farm Pilot Group and began the first phase of the project by completing their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) inventories with Logiag.

In addition, an advisory committee was formed with representatives from Regeneration Canada, General Mills, other experts such as Logiag and, most importantly, dairy producers and consultants, to ensure quality technical support, transparency and adequate representation throughout the process.The goal of this project being to facilitate the adoption of regenerative practices by dairy farms, Regeneration Canada will work with farmers to develop a training program that will be shaped by the information and feedback gathered throughout the process.


The committee is composed of :


  • Frédérique Lavallée, agronomist and doctoral student, Écoboeuf

  • Véronique Ouellet, Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, Université Laval

  • François Labelle, agronomist, expert in organic dairy production, Lactanet

  • Jean-François Messier, field crop producer

  • Guillaume Masse, agronomist in climate transition, Logiag

  • Brian Maloney, Pastured beef and lamb producer, Brylee Farm

  • Nathan Kaiser, Co-owner, Ferme Imperiale S.E.N.C.

  • Cécile Tartera, Agr, Groupe ProConseil

  • Kornel Schneider, dairy producer, Ferme Rêveuse

  • Pascal Viens, dairy producer, Ferme Vimo (2010) inc.

 

The context

The term “regeneration” refers to a process – the process of improving the condition of something. With regenerative agriculture, this process improves the condition of the soil, the general ecosystem, the climate, and human health.

Regenerative agriculture is based on land management principles that reverse the current trend of soil degradation, and subsequently air and water quality, by improving the soil ecosystem and restoring its biology. It is contextually applicable to different agricultural contexts, ranging from a sector-wide framework to the unique specifics of each farm.

Dairy production in Quebec is a complex sector central to the local food system and land use. Dairy farmers in Quebec are innovating to move the sector towards better practices for economic and environmental benefits. Despite the fact that Quebec’s dairy sector has one of the lowest GHG footprints per kg of milk in the world, the producers involved in this project are going above and beyond to find more solutions for soil conservation, water quality and farm-related ecosystem health.

Timeline

Below is the timeline for the different phases of the project over 5 years:


Year 1 – Pilot (2022-2023)
  • Creation of an advisory committee

  • Sampling and analysis of soil organic carbon on the 32 farms to establish reference level

  • Development of the training program

  • Creation of a baseline GHG inventory for all 32 farms

  • Climate transition planning

  • Research and development of a comprehensive modeling approach aligned with the future protocol that will ensure recognition of GHG reductions in the value chain


Years 2-5 (2023-2026)
  • Joint implementation of a regenerative program, with peer-to-peer coaching and learning

  • Scale-up and expansion

  • Co-development of a protocol that will ensure recognition of GHG reductions and ecosystem services in the value chain

Are you a consultant, agronomist or producer?
Are you interested in the project?


Write to us!

meagan@regenerationcanada.org