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The AIC 2017 Conference will cover three themes addressing agricultural innovation in a changing environment. Within each theme are two sections, Discovery Talks and Panels & Forum .
Discovery Talks will showcase the latest agricultural innovations and help set the stage for discussion.
Panels & Forum offer diverse insights into key issues relating to each stream and foster discussion between government representatives, agri-entrepreneurs, academia and the agricultural research community. A panel made up of experts from diverse stakeholder groups involved in agricultural and environmental research will share their views, expertise or relevant initiatives addressing one or multiple issues identified within each theme.
Transforming Challenges into Opportunities:
How can innovation minimize agriculture’s contribution to climate change?
Climate change introduces major uncertainties into the planet’s current and future capacity to produce food, feed, fibre, and fuel for the ever-growing population. The agriculture sector is particularly vulnerable to climate change and will need to adapt to changing patterns of precipitation, temperature and extreme weather events.
As the source of approximately 10-12 percent of the world’s total anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG), the agriculture sector can actively contribute to climate change mitigation efforts. The ability to produce sufficient food and non-food products without increasing agriculture’s GHG footprint depends on the scientific community’s ability to develop and share new information and technologies that reduce climate-related production uncertainties.
Discovery Talks: Climate Change and Air Quality
Discovery Talks aim to showcase technologies and farm practices that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve soil management and assist the agricultural and food sectors with options to adapt to a changing climate. Innovative solutions in this theme can be related to any of the following areas: carbon sequestration and GHG reduction, organic agriculture, and manure management.
Panels & Forum: Climate Change and the Agricultural Sector
Presentations will address climate change issues affecting the agriculture sector including:
- Climate change in the Next Agricultural Policy Framework (NAPF) and the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy: How can the NAPF establish a common and inclusive agricultural research agenda that minimizes agriculture and food’s contribution to climate change through adaptation and/or mitigation?
- Capitalizing on agricultural innovation to adapt and mitigate climate change: How should R&D activities to use opportunities in agriculture respond to climate shocks and focus on adaption to and/or mitigation of climate change? What changes in science and technology policy in the sector could stimulate the transition towards a modern bio-based economy?
Building the Future on our Strengths:
What support is available to advance Canada’s agricultural clean technologies?
As Canada moves toward a sustainable low-carbon economy, significant changes to agricultural production processes and products will be increasingly needed to remain competitive and meet productivity goals while reducing environmental pollution, resource use, and waste.
The federal government, as part of the implementation of the Government’s Innovation Agenda, has proposed to provide substantial investments over the next four years to support the development and deployment of clean technologies in various sectors of the Canadian economy, including agriculture. To make the most of these resources and build on the sector’s strengths, agricultural research stakeholders must engage in a constructive dialogue to identify new areas of opportunity and growth and avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts at the national and provincial levels.
Discovery Talks: Agricultural Biotechnology and Genomics
Discovery Talks will showcase novel technologies, processes or products derived from molecular biology, genomics and bioinformatics that can be applied to sustainable product development, food quality and safety, functional foods, nutraceuticals and novel bio-products. Innovative solutions in this theme can be related to any of the following areas: biofuels, bioenergy, food bioproducts, and agricultural genomics.
Panels & Forum: Opportunities for Clean Technology Innovation in the Agricultural Sector
Presentations will highlight opportunities for clean technology innovation in the agriculture sector including:
- Funding opportunities for clean technology innovation ventures and start-ups
- Green agri-entrepreneurs and private R&D investment in clean technologies
- Opportunities for interdisciplinary research and international cooperation
Shaping a Path Forward:
How can we ensure the adoption of environmentally sustainable innovations?
The rise in voluntary approaches to the management of environmental responsibilities, such as industry-led assurance schemes, corporate social responsibility, and Environmental Farm Plans, has allowed for increased accountability regarding environmental impacts. Most importantly, the implementation of proactive environmental assessments presents a unique opportunity to speed-up adoption and dissemination of green innovations in the sector, and to evaluate the impact of agricultural research on the ground.
Discovery Talks: Agro-Ecosystem Productivity and Health
New technologies and integrated management practices can re-invigorate major crop and livestock systems. While past advances in agriculture have often resulted from single component innovations, future environmentally-friendly solutions are expected to arise from the enhancement of systems by optimizing the interplay between their components. Theme 3 Discovery Talks will showcase the latest environmentally responsible processes, products, methods, technologies and farm-level decision support tools that seek to promote the development of new sustainable crop and livestock production systems.
Panels & Forum: Cross-Sectoral Dialogue on the Adoption of Environmentally Sustainable Innovations
Theme 3 Panels & Forum aims to encourage a cross-sectoral dialogue on the next major steps needed to ensure the adoption of environmentally sustainable innovations including:
- Government models, policy instruments, and farm-level programs to stimulate the development and deployment of clean technology and environmentally sustainable innovation: What policy changes are needed to provide farmers with appropriate tools and information to manage risk and stimulate the innovation and adoption of green technologies? How can the Environmental Farm Plans (EFPs) and Beneficial Farms Management Practices (BMPs) be improved to support a shift to more sustainable farming practices?
- Farm-level adoption of environmental innovations: industry- and private-led assurance schemes: What policies or incentives can integrate sustainable innovation goals into existing industry-led assurance schemes? What opportunities exist for assurance schemes in the private sector to encourage the development and in-field application of sustainable technologies in the agri-food system?