Six Saskatchewan crop commissions have submitted a joint letter to the Saskatchewan ministry of Environment on a proposed greenhouse gas offset program.
The commissions say farmers have a key role in helping to reach climate change goals.
Through zero-till practices, Saskatchewan farmers sequester about nine million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.
However, the current proposal for Saskatchewan’s offset program would not recognize these sequestration efforts.
The commissions continue to support the position of the Saskatchewan Soil Conservation Association, which advocates for separation of regulations for biological sinks from industrial and point source regulations.
This would remove these policy factors and provide farmers with recognition and compensation for new and increased carbon sequestered each year from zero-till and continuous cropping.
As structured, the letter says the Saskatchewan Offset Program provides no opportunity for Saskatchewan farmers as early leaders of zero-till technology.
The commissions are urging the ministry of Environment to continue working for a made in Saskatchewan offset protocol for sequestration of carbon in farmland.
A protocol for crop production is expected in 2022.
The crop commissions urge the ministry to develop an early protocol to ensure it is practical and provides value to farmers.
For example, a concept like a 100 year reporting period is not attractive and a flexible approach is needed.
Market transparency is also another important factor for these regulations with a registry to allow farmers to bank their credits.