From the Farm: Farmer ROI for carbon farming

Morning Show Features

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Farmers are being approached regularly by companies offering to buy their carbon credits, and offset high energy users in corporate America. But how does a farmer decide how to proceed?

Both private industry and government have a role in carbon sequestration, says Michael Gill. He is director of conservation agriculture for the Illinois Soybean Association.

“One of the things that needs to be better researched, to quantify, for both the farmer to know and the US government to know, and USDA to know, is try to match up what the farmer is giving up with where funding should be across time. So in that sense, if you look at it, and let’s take no-till corn, or soybeans to practice here first. I am coming out of a minimum till situation and it’s well known that I am going to be giving up some yield to begin with to go to a no-till situation because it takes time for that soil to equalize or come to equilibrium again. In that I am changing things and the bio-geo-chemical reactions in the soil are going to change across time to represent a different practice. And come more back in like to where I can seem better benefits five years out,” said Gill.

“So, shouldn’t the funding match those benefits across time, large to begin with to help that farmer get off the ground? Not only from the standpoint of what is happening with yield, but also investments in equipment. And that learning curve to begin with between changing practices and operations. Most of them medium to large and is more difficult to do, and then decrease as time goes on. And that farmer becomes more proficient at what he’s doing, and those soils come to that point of equilibrium.”

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