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Getting More Farmers in Carbon Markets

American Farmland Trust and Sierra View Solutions released a report titled “Agricultural Carbon Programs: From Chaos to Systems Change.” The report analyzes 22 agricultural carbon markets and recommends changes that would help these programs succeed.

The challenge was underscored by Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, who says, “Among the many reasons why farmers aren’t enrolling in ag carbon programs, one of the most obvious reasons is the offered payments are too low.” Farmers also don’t take part because the ag carbon programs do not adequately define what a “new practice” is, and they are setting arbitrary caps on participation in different areas.

A third problem area is that carbon programs originally designed for forestry projects are being applied to farmers and create unrealistic requirements to sequester carbon for 40 to 100 years. There are also concerns about the length of time for each carbon program and data and technology barriers for agriculture.

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