Despite publicity about carbon sequestration as a potential source of revenue, only a handful of America's largest farmers and ranchers are pursuing carbon contracts, said Purdue University on Tuesday. Less than 1 percent of large-scale operators polled for the monthly Ag Economy Barometer said they had discussed carbon contracts with any company, compared to 2 percent in Purdue surveys earlier this year.
At the same time farm-state lawmakers are trying to add $2 billion to $3 billion a year to USDA conservation programs, a coalition of farmers and ag groups says the price tag for climate mitigation on the farm should be much higher —$100 per acre or $40 billion a year when fully implemented. No paywall
Agriculture generates nearly a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, which has spurred scientists to seek ways of reducing farming's contributions to climate change. Now researchers have found that dusting crop fields with pulverized rock such as basalt can supercharge the natural chemical process that sequesters carbon in the soil, according to FERN’s latest story, published with Yale Environment 360. (No paywall)
A small fraction of U.S. farmers who have pursued contracts for capturing carbon in the soil – an incentive for climate mitigation – say the going rate is $20 an acre or less, said Purdue University on Tuesday. Companies that sell carbon credits to companies trying to offset their greenhouse gas emissions say the market is still in its infancy and prices will become more robust as demand rises.
The government should use USDA conservation programs as the starting point for climate mitigation on the farm and "tread lightly" with unproven ideas like a carbon bank, said the senior Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. Arkansas Sen. John Boozman cautioned that climate-smart practices may be too expensive for some producers to adopt.
Farmers expect to be paid for climate mitigation, and not at the expense of the traditional farm subsidies, said the president of the largest U.S. farm group during a discussion of President Biden's goal of an agriculture sector that achieves net-zero emission of greenhouse gases by 2050. Other ag leaders on the panel organized by USDA agreed there must be a financial payoff for the voluntary, incentive-based practices espoused by the administration to succeed.
Farmers in the largest corn-growing state are increasingly concerned about the potential impact of climate change on their operations but also dubious of carbon markets that would pay them to sequester carbon in the soil, according to the annual Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll. Their skepticism stood in contrast to President Biden's goal of creating new sources of revenue for farmers while his administration pushes American agriculture to be the first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases.
President Biden repeatedly described climate change as an existential threat during the fall campaign. Now that he is in office, his administration will rely on the pocketbook rather than the rule book when it comes to agriculture's contribution to slowing global warming. Voluntary participation by farmers, aided by financial incentives, has been a hallmark of USDA stewardship programs since their earliest days. (No paywall)
Although blamed for 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, agriculture has a "great track record" through land stewardship and biofuels in mitigating climate change, says Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, in looking ahead to the Biden administration. "We must make sure we are at the table for discussions around climate change." (No paywall)