Saskatchewan’s new climate change policy / Hursh.

*Carbon market for Saskatchewan*

With almost no fanfare, Saskatchewan has passed a new climate change bill that should theoretically provide a mechanism for farmers to be paid for carbon credits. However, the devil will be in the details and the regulations for the bill have yet to be established. A few years ago, Alberta initiated a program whereby that province’s large emitters can purchase carbon credits for minimum tillage and direct seeding. A number of companies are acting as aggregators, gathering up the carbon credits from producers and then selling them to the large emitters, all within Alberta. For an Alberta farmer practicing direct seeding, the payments haven’t been much per acre, but with the retroactivity of the program, larger-acreage producers have received some significant cheques. It isn’t clear whether Saskatchewan producers will benefit to the same extent from the new bill passed here. There may be more incentive for large Saskatchewan emitters to pay money into a Tech Fund and then remove the money for approved carbon reduction projects rather than buying carbon credits. There’s also the overriding reality of supply and demand. Saskatchewan doesn’t have nearly as many large carbon emitters as Alberta, but we have a lot more farmland. Saskatchewan has an opportunity to learn from Alberta’s experience. However, it remains to be seen whether a carbon credit market is actually going to be fostered in this province.

I’m Kevin Hursh.

Posted to Kevin Hursh on Agriculture: Today’s Comment

“…USDA will begin enforcing rules that require the spot testing of organically grown foods for traces of pesticides…”

Kevin Hursh posted this online today….

Hursh on Agriculture

*March 28, 2010*

*Inserting some science into organic*
It appears that the United States is going to start some testing of organic food to make sure it’s actually organic. Mischa Popoff, a former audit-based inspector based in B.C. has long been pushing for organic testing in both the U.S. and Canada. Now, Popoff is pointing at stories in The New York Times which indicate that the USDA will begin enforcing rules that require the spot testing of organically grown foods for traces of pesticides. According to the news stories, spot testing is expected to begin in September. There have been cases in the U.S. where it has taken years for any action against producers and processors selling conventional product and claiming it as organic. The majority of organic products are imported into North America and the organic verification is only paperwork. Organic certification will always require a paper trail, but the industry also needs some scientific testing and some ability to stop those who are abusing the designation. Otherwise the organic label doesn’t have much credibility. Hopefully, Canada will pay attention to the actions starting south of the border. I’m Kevin Hursh.

Check out Mischa Popoff’s site: