Farm groups push for carbon recognition


The Saskatchewan Soil Conservation Association (SSCA) is encouraging the province’s farmers to participate in a review of the Government of Canada’s proposed Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Offset Credit System regulations.

The proposed regulations are open for a 60‐day comment period that concludes May 5. Farmers can click here to learn more about the proposed rules.

The SSCA is among several Saskatchewan farm groups that are hoping to ensure that Saskatchewan farmers are recognized and compensated for carbon sequestered from conservation practices, including zero‐till and continuous cropping.

Other groups involved in the effort include the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (SaskWheat), the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, SaskPulse, SaskBarley, SaskFlax, SaskOats, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities and the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan.

“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,” said Jocelyn Velestuk, a SaskWheat director who also sits on the SSCA’s board of directors.

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, the organization said in a March 19 news release.

“Each year, through no‐till practices, Saskatchewan farmers sequester about 9‐million new tonnes of carbon dioxide,” said Velestuk, citing a government report entitled Prairie Resilience.

“We are committed to achieving a regulatory environment that recognizes this significant positive impact.”

While details on what farming and ranching practices will be eligible to earn offset credits through the federal protocols are still being developed, the draft regulations indicate that land‐management practices will have to go above and beyond “business as usual.”

“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,” said John Bennett, chair of the SSCA Carbon Advisory Committee.

The SSCA Carbon Advisory Committee and Support Group Members will continue to advocate for separate regulations for agricultural carbon sink protocols that would not be subject to non‐scientific factors such as “business as usual.”

Any offset program must also include farmer ownership of soil carbon credits, a registry that allows farmers to “bank” their credits, an effective price discovery mechanism, and full transparency of basis costs.

The SSCA is encouraging Saskatchewan farmers to get involved in the federal consultations by visiting‐climate‐ change/services/climate‐change/pricing‐pollution‐how‐it‐will‐work/output‐based‐pricing‐ system/federal‐greenhouse‐gas‐offset‐system.html

For more information on the work of the SSCA Carbon Advisory Committee, visit