Canadian fertiliser company Nutrien is planning major reductions in its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and may pay farmers for carbon credits along the way.

The company has set an emissions reduction target of 30% by 2030.

The reduction in emissions will come from operations and electricity use in fertiliser production and the company is also working with farmers to reduce emissions and sequester carbon on-farm.

Carbon programme

Nutrien has set up a carbon programme where it encourages farmers to practice climate-smart agriculture, reducing emissions and increasing the carbon sequestration potential of the soil.

The programme verifies growers’ carbon performance and according to the company’s website, will also facilitate the sale of their carbon credits, which might be used in a voluntary or a compliance market.

The company outlines the potential for $10-20/ac of a carbon credit to be paid to growers and the potential to increase agronomic profitability through the programme by $30/ac, depending on existing farm practices.

Nutrien may also purchase the carbon credits itself to use against its own carbon emissions footprint.

Crucially, financial performance is being monitored on-farm, as well as the impact on the environment.

While the programme is still in the pilot stages, the company hopes it will improve the verification process for carbon and inform policy.

“Nutrien’s global reach supports a partnership network to develop the at-scale generation and monetisation of high-quality, natural climate solution carbon credits. At the same time, we intend to partner with governments and non-government organisations to help inform policy and help meet public environmental goals,” according to Nutrien’s website.

Carbon farming

Carbon trading is outlined in the Irish Government’s roadmap for agriculture, Ag Climatise, and is something that we will continue to hear more about into the future.

Irish farms have huge potential to sequester carbon, from storage in the soil and hedgerows to habitats. A recent Teagasc study on grassland showed that there is potential to store much more carbon in our soils than is currently happening.