Skip to main content

Shorter fries? An alternative policy to support a reduction of nitrogen contamination from agricultural crop production

Feeding the growing population of the world poses significant policy challenges for the sustainability of global ecosystems. A prime example is the degradation of water quality due to the growing imbalance in the terrestrial nitrogen (N) cycle linked to increasing production of reactive N
(Nr). Environmental impacts such as groundwater quality degradation and eutrophication of coastal estuaries tend to be local in nature but may be closely connected to global economic factors. Environmental accounting of the N fluxes entering, leaving or remaining in Prince Edward Island (PEI), a
small agricultural region, demonstrate the importance of a single industry (potato production) in controlling the local N cycle. The resulting burden of Nr has its most profound effect on groundwater, the sole source of drinking water and the primary pathway of N to the Province's economically and
ecolog- ically important estuaries. At the same time, agriculture is a vital part of the local economy, and regulators are faced with the challenge of meeting environmental goals and still maintaining an industry that is competitive and responsive to global market trends. New, innovative policy
alternatives are needed to foster more effective implementation of sustainable agricultural practices. An approach that focuses on influencing consumer choices toward more environmentally responsible production practices at the point of origin may help remove some of the important, non-technical
barriers to sustainable food production practices. In practice, a system that documents the environmental performance throughout the full supply chain from producer to retailer would have to be implemented.

In progress
Project URL
Start Date
End Date

The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Research Inventory is an
interactive, Internet-based, searchable database created as a tool to collect and disseminate
up-to-date information about research projects in the
Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Region.