Taking It To the Bank

Choosing a bank involves several factors such as convenience, service and trust.  Having a good relationship with your banker is very important but also harder to maintain as banks consolidate.  It’s always helpful when you are banking with someone you know and that knows you.  Just as choosing a bank for your financial transactions is important so too will be choosing the right carbon bank if you choose to sell carbon stored in your soil.  Once again farmers are being told there is a potential revenue stream available to them by selling carbon credits.  While this is not new it seems to be gaining traction as several agribusinesses are already offering carbon programs to their customers.  The federal government is pushing the idea as well but many questions remain.  As with any business transaction you should check out any contract carefully before signing and make sure you understand what will be required of you.  Many farmers are already using practices that qualify them but some might need to make some changes to their operations.  Selling carbon credits may work for some but might not be worth it to others.  Be sure to get as much information as you can before signing a contract. While the push is on to establish carbon banks it is far from a finished product.  A coalition of farm and conservation groups is recommending USDA be involved with helping establish guidelines and help expand the use of climate friendly practices.  They do not want the government running the new markets or interfering with private programs being offered by agribusinesses. Of course it is always challenging to get government assistance without getting government interference so we’ll see how this plays out.  The coalition is recommending a slow approach using field trials but momentum is already building. While I’m still not sure how corporations buying credits from farmers to offset their own emissions actually helps us reduce our carbon footprint, I am glad that farmers are being recognized and hopefully rewarded for their conservation efforts.  While often unfairly blamed for environmental problems this new push to reach climate goals may help others finally see that agriculture is a major contributor to the solution and not the problem.  Now farmers may actually be able to take that recognition to the bank!