Farmers paid to store carbon

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

The project has been validated by the “Environment Canada Emissions Removal and Reduction and Learning Pilot Project” (PERRL). The objective of the pilot project is to learn more about all aspects of the process of carbon emissions trading with agricultural soil carbon sinks.

At this time, participation is limited to members of soil conservation organizations in Western Canada and the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario.

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The acreage will be limited to 100 hectares or 247 acres per producer. Producers will have to practice direct seeding and cultivation with minimal tillage. They will have to adhere to a number of requirements: not to incinerate residues and not to 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 PEREA. 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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