ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Farmers need to be cautious before signing onto any carbon farming proposals, and ask pointed questions before committing their farm to any carbon credit payments.
Michael Gill, Director of Conservation Agriculture for the Illinois Soybean Association, says farmers should first find out what data those companies expect.
“Now keep in mind that any data that you enter into that, in most cases when you read the contract, the entity that has that data cannot use your individual data but they can aggregate your data with other farmers’ data to draw conclusions about that data,” says Gill.
“For instance, they may be able to produce another service or product out of that, that would come back and be at a cost to you if you wanted to purchase it. So, keep in mind that at this time your data is not portable among many entities at all.
“Secondly, the terms of the contract as I said before, how many years am I agreeing to? If I am unable to initiate the practice and I have been given payment up front to do that practice, am I going to have to pay that carbon credit portion of that credit back to the entity that I have signed up with?
“Another factor would be just what is the range of payment that is going to come down and quite frankly I would ask them, and I am not sure what kind of answer would come back to you, but just exactly once I know that number, and what portion of that carbon credit payment am I forfeiting for administration fees for your service? I would also ask that entity am I going to be obliged to buy any products from you beyond this? And, will I be contracted about any additional products. And what do you specifically intend to do with my data once it is aggregate with other peoples’ data?”
That leaves farmers with more questions than answers.