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Lake Country Co-op Ag team ensures environmental sustainability is at the forefront of all decision making. Our team is constantly looking at ways to eliminate waste, reduce carbon emissions, promote regeneration and source products locally and responsibly.
Grown with Purpose was introduced to Lake Country Co-op in 2019¬. The Co-operative Retailing System (CRS) saw an opportunity for farmers to push yields and increase efficiency with on-farm practices that are mindful of air, soil and water quality. Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) describes Grown with Purpose as a comprehensive suite of best management practices that assist crop planning and management. The cornerstone of the program is 4R Nutrient Stewardship, a set of principles that ensure fertilizer applications are made when and where plants need them the most.
Our Lake Country Co-op Grow team works directly with producers to build a custom strategy that will improve optimal source, rate, timing and placement of fertilizer and other on-farm performance metrics. This strategy will help producers capture and verify data so they can show their community and buyers exactly how their farm is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. These strategies include but are not limited to:
• Nutrient management strategies that promote economic, environmental and social sustainability goals
• Crop rotations that promote soil health and reduce the spread of disease and insects
• Crop protection applications that mitigate herbicide resistance by rotating and layering products with different modes of action
• Sprayer tank cleanout practices that reduce the amount of wasted product and prevent unnecessary crop injury.
Sustainability is the core of the Lake Country Co-op brand. By partnering with Cleanfarms, we are able to divert and recycle plastics and unwanted pesticide from our landfills. Cleanfarms provides recycling solutions for agricultural communities and we are proud to be a part of these successful programs. Every year at our Lake Country Co-op Ag locations, we provide collection bags to our growers for returning their empty pesticide containers. Farmers are responsible for triple rinsing the containers to ensure no product is wasted and then return the bags to our locations for pick up and safe recycling. Cleanfarms also provides on farm pickup and recycling services for grain bags and locations for drop off of twine. All these products are “a valuable and prolific source of used plastics that can reduce the amount of new resin used in manufacturing. Once they’re collected and processed, grain bags are recycled into new products that can be used by Canadians, coast to coast.” (Cleanfarms, 2022). Other initiatives include recycling products such as empty seed bags and totes. Lake Country also participates in the collection of unwanted pesticides and old livestock/animal medication. Every three years, in partnership with Cleanfarms, CropLife Canada and the Canadian Animal Health Institute, we provide drop off locations for unwanted pesticides & old livestock/animal medication which allows these products to be safely disposed of and removes thousands of pounds of unwanted products from farms across Saskatchewan.
These are a few ways that our Ag team ensures environmental sustainability is at front of mind. With these initiatives, we are able to make a significant impact on our environment.