Barriers remain for carbon markets

An economist says farmers are facing some barriers to realizing the potential of carbon markets.  

Shelby Myers is with American Farm Bureau.  

“These assets have to be verified and so in order to do that it’s going to come at a cost whether that’s the quantification cost, for example, of a $12 soil sample per every 30 acres of field you’re working in or is that 5 soil samples per 30 acres of field you’re working in,” she says. “What’s that cost-effective piece versus that accuracy piece of quantifying the assets.”

She says an unexpected financial barrier is the cost of cover crop seed.

“We had a drought in the West, and we had an incentive to grow corn, soybeans, and wheat in the West where we would typically grow cover crop seed,” she says. “So, the demand for cover crop seed is rising while our supply might have taken a hit this year and causing the price to go up is going to influence the success of these markets as well.”  

Myers says farmers should ask questions before diving into carbon markets.

“How will farmer data be protected,” she says. “How long is a contract, what do the contract terms mean, and what’s my liability and access.”

Speaking during a recent Indiana Farm Bureau webinar, she said farmers should also be aware of potential regulation of carbon markets.

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