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Soil health - Climate agriculture

Farmers are key players in achieving our climate goals

Our farmers and their healthy soils are part of the solution to climate change.

The challenge

GHG emissions from agriculture are projected to increase and farmers have a front row seat to the impacts of climate change. But there are solutions! Certain agricultural practices promote soil health, reduce farm-produced GHG emissions and increase resilience and adaptation to the impacts of climate change. The challenge is to persuade the agricultural sector to transition to soil-regenerative practices.


Only 2% of Quebec’s land area is devoted to farmland.

Union des Producteurs Agricoles (UPA)

It is time to think big. Canadian, provincial and territorial governments have an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate forward-looking leadership by placing a real priority on soil health. People, planet and profit will all benefit as a result.

"The Power of Soils" report

Équiterre's work 

Through its climate agriculture projects, Équiterre is working to support a global transition to a more resilient, low GHG-emitting agricultural sector. We are mobilizing stakeholders, influencing policies and highlighting agricultural practices that have the potential to increase carbon sequestration, reduce GHG emissions and deliver numerous other ecosystem benefits.

Équiterre's report entitled "The Power of Soils," has identified agricultural practices that have the potential to improve soil health in Canada. The knowledge, evidence and reflections derived from this report is being used to inspire the federal government as it develops various policies and programs. Équiterre is also a member of several coalitions, such as Farmers for Climate Solutions (which Équiterre helped create) and the Green Budget Coalition.

At the provincial level, Équiterre, in partnership with Coordination services-conseils (CSC) and with the financial support of the MAPAQ, has launched a three-year (2020-2023) technology showcase project on soil conservation approaches for conventional field crops. Équiterre also sits on the committee that monitors the implementation of the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture’s Plan d’agriculture durable.

Objectives at the federal level

  1. Identify agricultural practices that improve soil health and reduce GHGs in Canada's agricultural sector;
  2. Ensure that government officials and elected representatives prioritize soil health in their policies and programs;
  3. Educate the Canadian public about how agriculture can be part of Canada's climate solutions.

Objectives at the provincial level

  1. Highlight field crop producers who are using a set of practices that have been proven in the scientific literature to be beneficial to the environment and the health of their soils;
  2. Create interest in these practices and encourage their adoption by a greater number of Quebec farmers;
  3. Increase the resilience of Quebec's agricultural enterprises to help protect their production capacity over the long term;
  4. Monitor the implementation of the Plan d’agriculture durable to ensure that it meets its goals.

Our impact 

5 webinars held in 2021 with over 400 attendees

25 videos featuring 11 participating farms

Project history


Consultations are under way to establish the next agricultural policy framework at the federal level.

In February, Quebec announces measures to reward agri-environmental practices as part of its Sustainable Agriculture Plan.


Équiterre publishes the report entitled Power of Soil in collaboration with the Greenbelt Foundation.

Ottawa announces the On-Farm Climate Action Fund, a $200 million fund over 3 years to support the adoption of three types of farming practices that benefit soil health.

Following a 3-day meeting in Guelph, federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers prioritize addressing climate change and protecting the environment. This priority should be reflected in the next agricultural policy framework (2023-2028)

Équiterre joins the monitoring committee for the implementation of Quebec'sSustainable Agriculture Plan.


Canada's Climate Plan recognizes the importance of soil health and its ability to sequester carbon.

Quebec announces a Sustainable Agriculture Plan with clear and measurable objectives to reduce pesticide use, improve soil health, promote biodiversity, optimize water management and improve fertilizer management.

In July 2020, Équiterre presents the Agri-Resilience brief to the members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released that looks at land use under climate change and warns that successfully containing climate change will require changes in how land is managed and food is produced.

2015 | COP21

The Paris Agreement acknowledges the role of agriculture in the fight against climate change.

The 4 per 1000 initiative, launched on December 1, 2015, raises the idea that increasing the amount of carbon stored in soils by 0.4% per year would offset the annual increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The federal government's climate plan recognizes the power of agricultural soils to sequester carbon.


The term "regenerative agriculture" is first used by the Rodale Institute.



Take action

Related initiatives 

Équipe du projet

Alice Feuillet

Project Manager, Soil Health

Nadine Bachand

Senior Analyst, Agriculture and Food

Marilyne Poliquin

Communications Officer - Sustainable Agriculture and Food

The Vitrines en santé des sols project is being carried out in collaboration with Coordination Services-Conseils and the Institut de recherche et de développement en agroenvironnement. This project is funded by the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec as part of the second part 2 of the Prime-Vert program.

The Canada-wide project is being carried out in collaboration with the Greenbelt Foundation, based in Ontario. The project is being funded by the Metcalf Foundation, the Clif Family Foundation, and the Echo Foundation, and has also received funding from Patagonia. The Farmers for Climate Solutions coalition is also a lead partner on the project.