Saskatoon, SK, May 24: CarbonTerra, an industry leader, focused on building a climate-friendly, carbon-neutral agriculture ecosystem, highlighted the importance of recognizing and incentivizing the early adopters of no-till farming in Canada.
In a testimony before the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry last week, Jason Mann, CEO of CarbonTerra, emphasized the potential of carbon sequestration through sustainable agricultural practices and urged policymakers to take action.
Mr. Mann, in his opening remarks, emphasized the critical role of agriculture in combating climate change and highlighted the transformative power of no-till farming in mitigating carbon emissions. He also lauded the Canadian farmers for their pioneering efforts in adopting some of the best practices and emerging as global leaders in sustainable farming.
“No-till farming has proven to be a transformative practice in reducing carbon emissions. It is crucial now for policymakers to recognize the pioneers and early adopters of no-till farming and establish a supportive policy framework to encourage wider adoption,” he said.
A supportive policy should include no-till farming in the carbon credit system. Carbon credits allow businesses and individuals to offset their carbon emissions by investing in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the current system does not fully recognize the contributions of no-till farming, placing early adopters at a disadvantage.
No-till farming, which involves growing crops without disturbing the soil, offers numerous benefits such as reduced soil erosion, improved soil health, enhanced air quality, and increased water retention. Research indicates that no-till farming in the Canadian Prairies has the potential to sequester up to 1.5 million tons of carbon per acre per year. Scaling up the adoption of no-till farming across the three Prairie provinces could result in the sequestration of approximately 138 million tons of carbon annually.
“Developing something that could be endorsed by the federal government, whether it’s voluntary or compliant, would be a great tool where you can put something here that’s fungible; you can say that this credit has a value even if it starts to trade in Canada and then can be adopted globally,” he said, while calling on the federal government to work with the provinces instead of a mishmash of policies.
By creating such a market, early adopters of no-till farming can be further motivated to continue their sustainable practices, ultimately fostering broader adoption and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.
Mr. Mann also highlighted that farmers, particularly in the Western Canadian provinces, are always looking for newer ways to adopt sustainable practices. In this aspect, he mentioned the farmer-owned fertilizer plant project that he is leading. Genesis Fertilizers is an alliance of Canadian farmers investing equity to build their fertilizer future by vertically integrating urea production and distribution.
“There is a big target on nitrogen because of its emissions, but we are looking at building a plant with green ammonia. Farmers are doing these things to be proactive. I don’t think we need to use less nitrogen; we need to use it smarter. However, to use it smarter, you have to produce a better-quality product, and you have to have the equipment to apply it. This all takes money. We have to find the rewards for them so they can get paid for the good things they are doing so they can reinvest it. Let’s invest in Canada and invest in our farmers,” Mr. Mann said.
CarbonTerra also emphasized the need for a credible and tradable carbon market to ensure that carbon credits hold enduring market value. By establishing a market that recognizes and backs carbon credits, the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices can be further encouraged. “I think we need an exchange — a made-in-Canada exchange. Why let Singapore do it? We should be doing it here. We have the nature-based credits. We’re just exporting them like every other commodity. Let’s add the value here,” he said.
Calling for the need for a ‘made-in-Canada’ carbon registry, Mr. Mann said, “We are relying on Verra, Climate Action Reserve, and others. We need a made-in-Canada registry that reflects what we value as Canadians, and we can lead with that. We need to get government backing to give it credibility.”
As Canada strives to meet its climate targets and transition to a low-carbon economy, CarbonTerra’s testimony before the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry serves as a call to action for policymakers to recognize and support early adopters of no-till farming. By incentivizing sustainable practices and establishing a supportive policy framework, Canada can make significant strides in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and advancing sustainable agriculture.
CarbonTerra enables carbon-neutral food production with technology solutions for farmers that simplify the monetization of carbon offsets and help in building a climate-friendly, carbon-neutral agriculture ecosystem that ensures maximum return on investment in sustainable agriculture practices.