Carbon sink compensation among cattle group resolutions

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — The British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association wants producers to be rewarded for sequestering carbon in the soil.

Members passed a resolution encouraging the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the Canadian Round Table for Sustainable Beef to ask the federal government to implement a program that pays agriculture producers for measurable carbon sequestration that occurs on their land.

“There is a lot of talk from the federal and provincial levels about carbon taxes that we are to pay whether it is on fuel or other things. This is a proactive way to try and recapture some of the expenditures that we are experiencing in the future,” John Anderson of the Nicola Stock Breeders Association said at the BCCA annual meeting held in Kamloops May 25-27.

“It is a positive way for agriculture producers to be able to get some benefit from the land they ranch and farm on. Society is putting some of these costs upon us, and this is a way for society to repay some of the costs.”

However, some delegates pointed out that their land already holds a good deal of carbon because of past management practices, but there is no current market for that.

“The increase in carbon that we have on our farms is variable,” said Dave Zehnder, who ranches at Invermere. “The one thing that isn’t variable is the carbon we already have sequestered in the ground and that has a value.”

Another resolution called for the association to increase its reward for information on cattle rustlers to $5,000 from $2,000. The reward is paid for information leading to a conviction for cattle theft.

The reward was paid out once this past year, and it is hoped more money may encourage people to come forward, said Martin Rossman of Quesnel.

Members also passed a resolution asking the federal fisheries department to reinstate the re-source restoration program that was eliminated May 26. It helped support initiatives such as fish hatcheries, but cattle producers were able to use it to develop riparian projects.

“It is a huge step back for some of us who are finally getting around some riparian work done in a streamlined process,” said John Anderson.

The program allows ranchers to hire riparian experts to get permits in place so projects can go ahead.

“We are going in the opposite direction we need to be going, especially in the face of all the changes we are going through in the environmental world,” he said.

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