It’s difficult to track exactly how many farmers participate in the province’s carbon trading program.
The tonnage of carbon traded by producers has been constant in the last few years, but there’s likely been a drop-off since 2012 when the ability to claim historical carbon credits ended, said a greenhouse gas agrologist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
“The 2012 to 2015 numbers are fairly steady at about 650,000 tonnes,” said Paul Jungnitsch. “Before that it’s a little bit complicated by the fact that there were probably a lot of cheques written in 2011 and 2012 based on offsets from the previous 10 years. Just from talking to farmers there were a lot of guys who found it worthwhile when they could get 10 years of records together and they could get a decent-size cheque.
“Since then the record-keeping requirements went up a bit and the effective yield went down a bit.”
Jungnitsch said he still receives a lot of phone calls from farmers expressing interest in the offset program and those who get through the first rounds of paperwork tend to stick with it.
“The system is more mature,” he said. “The aggregation companies have been in operation longer. There’s more awareness of the whole carbon thing.
“Guys who are in the system find it quite OK to stay in it because once you get to that point you’re just modifying what’s already there and you’re probably dealing with the same aggregator and everything.”