Saskatchewan farm and soil conservation groups urge farmers to provide feedback for federal carbon offset proposal

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Saskatchewan farm organizations, the Soil Conservation Council of Canada, and Saskatchewan Soil Conservation Association (SSCA) are encouraging farmers to participate and provide feedback on the federal government’s proposed Greenhouse Gas Offset Credit System regulations.

A coalition of farm groups are uniting to have Saskatchewan farmers are recognized and compensated for their carbon sequestration efforts, including conservation practices like zero-till and continuous cropping practices.

“The carbon sequestered each year by Saskatchewan farmers is a critical asset to help both the federal and provincial governments meet their climate change goals. That value should be recognized and returned to the farmgate,” says Jocelyn Velestuk, a Sask Wheat and SSCA director, and member of the SSCA’s Carbon Advisory Committee.

Groups represented include: Sask Wheat, SaskCanola, SaskPulse, SaskBarley, SaskFlax, SaskOats, Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, and Agriculture Producers Association of Saskatchewan.

The SSCA’s Carbon Advisory Committee is committed to working with the federal and provincial governments to develop a science-based offset protocol for the sequestration of carbon in agricultural soils.

Velestuk says that each year through no-till practices, Saskatchewan farmers sequester about 9 million new tonnes of carbon dioxide. “We are committed to achieving a regulatory environment that recognizes this significant positive impact,” says Velestuk, citing the Saskatchewan government’s Prairie Resilience paper.

“Even though the federal government has recognized the annual contribution of new and incremental sequestration in agricultural soils, the federal proposal could disqualify the majority of Saskatchewan crop producers from participating in an offset trading system,” explains John Bennett, chair of the SSCA’s Carbon Advisory Committee.

It’s still unclear which farming and ranching practices will be eligible to earn offset credits while the federal protocols are still being developed.

The proposed regulations are open for a 60-day comment period, until May 5, 2021.

Related: Liberals unveil carbon offset regulations, but details on how farms could generate credits still to be developed

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