Farmers paid to store carbon

The Saskatchewan Soil Conservation Association has started a pilot project to offer carbon credits from agriculture. Carbon credits will make it possible to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions of emitting companies by eliminating them by converting to direct sowing (cultivation without tillage). Farmers across Canada will receive payments for their participation.

The project was validated by Environment Canada's "Pilot Program on Elimination and Reduction of Emissions and Learning" (PERRL). The objective of the pilot project is to learn more about all aspects of the process of trading carbon allowances with carbon sinks in agricultural soils.

Participation is currently limited to members of western Canadian soil conservation organizations and the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario.

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The area will be limited to 100 hectares or 247 acres per producer. Producers should practice direct seeding and cultivation with minimal tillage. They will have to meet a certain number of requirements: do not incinerate residues and do not completely eliminate the growth of the crop.

The equivalent amount of carbon dioxide removed (sequestered in the soil) will be determined using a protocol developed by PPEREA. Producers will receive $ 11,08 per tonne of sequestered carbon dioxide. Payments will differ depending on soil types and their productivity.

The Saskatchewan Soil Conservation Association estimates that agriculture has the potential to help Canada meet more than 20% of its Kyoto target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: AgriSuccess Express e-mail from Farm Credit Canada, 15 April 2005 (click here).

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