Capturing carbon is one thing, but as many farmers are aware, quantifying the amount of carbon being sequestered can be a tricky feat.
Hebert Grain Ventures (HGV), of Fairlight, Sask., has joined the Canadian Alliance for Net-Zero Agriculture (CANZA), and will work with researchers from the University of Saskatchewan on a national case study.
The study will see HGV’s 32,000 acres of grain and canola farmland used to quantify the amount of carbon being sequestered with the ultimate goal of developing a measurement, verification, and reporting system that will help Canadian farmers generate and sell quality carbon credits.
The pilot program, says Kristjan Hebert, president of the Hebert Group, a family of agricultural companies including HGV, is going to focus primarily on measuring carbon, as he does believe this is the solution to future farming.
“The pilot project ask how can we work together to make agriculture one of the first net-zero industries, because I do believe fully and based on our data, and the work we’ve already done, that primary producers are net sequesters of carbon, and we should be able to sell it up the chain and insets. So that as an industry, we can show the world that not only are we feeding it, we’re also net-zero,” he explains. (Story continues below video interview)
The project itself will be a 12-month study, but as Hebert notes, HGV has data going back to grid soil samples in the ’90s. While it does involve specifically what they are doing on the farm this year, the project will utilize their old data set to back up some of the claims.
The goal as well, says Hebert, will be to also utilize, demonstrate, and try out different technologies that are currently out on the market.
“There’s no question, we’re going to have to use sensory tech and data providers, but as well, groups that pull all the data together,” he explains. “The last thing I know that the majority of farmers want to do, is go through and verify every piece of data to the third decimal place at midnight.”
By the end of the project, they hope to develop a prototype measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) system that has the capacity to measure and model the impact of soil health management practices, and generate high-quality carbon assets that meet industry verification standards.
Other collaborators involved in the study include the University of Ottawa’s Smart Prosperity Institute and the University of Guelph’s Arrell Food Institute. Advisory support is being provided by RBC, Nature United, Nutrien, Maple Leaf, Loblaws, and Boston Consulting Group.
The next phase of the study would see the low-cost, scalable prototype MRV system used for production testing through a pilot program during the 2024 growing season.