Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is calling for proposals for the challenge, which will accelerate innovation in support of long-term competitiveness and stimulate growth in the critically important agriculture, agri-food and forestry sectors.

Projects that result from this challenge will lead to job creation, attract local and international investments and open up new markets.

A total of $40 million will come from the TIER Fund—a key part of Alberta’s climate response, funded by industry—­to support the challenge. These investments will be used to aid recovery, strengthen existing industries and help create new opportunities from small and medium enterprises across these sectors.

The $40 million will help farmers, ranchers, industry, and innovators navigate the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing market implications. These innovations will lead to positive impacts, such as lower production and processing costs for food and fibre and natural solutions to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

The application deadline is Aug. 27, at 5 p.m. MT. Visit eralberta.ca for more information and eligibility criteria, or to sign up for an informational webinar to be held on June 29.

“Our government is proud to fund the Food, Farming, and Forestry Challenge. This is a strong example of how Alberta is thoughtfully advancing creative solutions to achieve both emissions reductions and greater economic and environmental resilience. Alberta has shown significant leadership in emissions reduction via enhancing agricultural and forestry practices and we look forward to continuing on this path through further market-based opportunities.”

Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

“Our foresters, farmers and ranchers have always been innovative in order to compete around the world. Investing in additional technological advancements will help them continue to grow and create more jobs in Alberta’s largest natural resource sectors.”

Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

“Our mandate at ERA is to improve the cost and carbon competitiveness of all sectors. At this time of global uncertainty, we are taking bold action to accelerate technology-led innovation that ensures these key industries can grow sustainably.”

Steve MacDonald, CEO, Emissions Reduction Alberta

"ERA's funding support is essential in allowing companies like Al-Pac to de-risk complex projects. These innovative projects will make our companies more financially viable and reduce emissions, all the while bettering the environment for Albertans. There are a lot of great ideas out there, and without the support of ERA, they may not be realized.” 

Daryl Nichol, pulp mill manager, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc.

“Now, more than ever, we need to take action to ensure a sustainable future for the 70 communities and thousands of Albertans who depend on forestry. Innovation is a key part of preparing for our future. This program will help support forestry jobs throughout Alberta.”

Fred Dzida, board chair, Alberta Forest Products Association

"Investment in innovation plays an important part in the continuation of stable, sustainable food production in Canada. The Food, Farming, and Forestry Challenge is a positive thing for Alberta's beef producers, while helping ensure Canadians have continued access to high-quality and nutritious products."

Bob Lowe, president, Canadian Cattlemen's Association

“We need fresh ideas to support the increased economic contributions of Alberta's food and beverage processing industry to help further diversify the Alberta economy. This funding opportunity helps address urgent needs in response to current health and economic disruptions, and it also helps build the long-term competitive advantage of Alberta's food and beverage industry.”

Melody Pashko, general manager, Alberta Food Processors Association (AFPA)

Quick facts

  • TIER is an improved system to help energy-intensive facilities find innovative ways to reduce emissions and invest in clean technology to stay competitive and save money.
  • Facilities can pay into a TIER Fund, which is used for innovative and cleaner Alberta-based technologies like the Food, Farming and Forestry Challenge.
  • Alberta’s agricultural and forestry sectors are an important part of the economy.
  • Alberta produces more than 40 per cent of Canada’s total cattle inventory, 33 per cent of Canada’s wheat, 32 per cent of Canada’s canola and 50 per cent of its barley.
  • In 2018, the agriculture and forestry sectors employed more than 100,000 Albertans.
  • Alberta’s agri-food exports reached a record $11.6 billion in 2018, an increase of three per cent from 2017, and forest products exports reached $4.2 billion, up 20 per cent from 2016.
  • Innovative projects that come out of this challenge will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture and forestry sector.
  • Since 2009, Emissions Reduction Alberta has committed more than $534 million to 161 projects that are worth $4 billion and estimated to reduce emissions by nearly 33 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030.