Addressing methane emissions from cows

Addressing methane emissions from cows
Dec 11, 2023

A new protocol from Ottawa will incentivize farmers for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The federal government has launched a draft protocol to support and reward farmers for reducing methane emissions from cows.

The Reducing Enteric Methane Emissions from Beef Cattle (REME protocol) will “incentivize farmers to implement changes that would reduce enteric methane emissions from their beef cattle operations with an opportunity to generate offset credits that they can sell,” a Dec. 10 release from Environment and Climate Change Canada says.

Environment Minister Steven Guillbeault announced the program during Food and Agriculture Day at COP28.

The credits can be sold to facilities that need them to meet emissions reduction obligations, or to businesses looking to meet low-carbon economy commitments.

Farmers can implement different production practices to help beef cattle lower their emission output.

These can include diet reformulation, the use of certain growth promoters and genetic selection.

This kind of program helps achieve multiple goals, said Lawrence MacAulay, Canada’s minister of agriculture.

“This initiative would ensure our ranchers benefit from the methane emissions reductions they achieve from their herds - that’s a win for the environment and for farmers,” he said in a statement. “By working together with our farmers and ranchers, we can drive economic growth, keep the sector competitive, and put more money back into the pockets of our farmers, all while fighting climate change.”

The federal government wants farmers’ input on the draft protocol.

On Jan. 17, 2024, webinars are taking place to provide a detailed overview of the REME protocol.

And Canadians have until Feb. 6, 2024, to provide written comments. Those can be emailed to

Canadians can expect a final protocol to be published in summer 2024.

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