Be thorough when looking at carbon contracts

A pair of legal experts is urging farmers to be thorough when looking at carbon sequestration contracts.

University of Nebraska Ag Law Specialist Dave Aiken tells Brownfield farmers need to understand management obligations, like planting cover crops or reduced tillage, before signing a contract…

“The contract will also deal with, how will the amount of carbon stored in the ground actually be verified,” he said. “Because that’s what is being sold on the marketplace, the carbon being stored or sequestered in the soil.”

Aiken says farmers should avoid red flags like being pressured to sign a contract, having no contract, and having to put money out for a contract.

Missouri based Ag Attorney Brent Haden says producers should make sure any assurances promised them is in writing.

“It’s not like dealing with a neighbor down the road on a handshake that you can put social pressure on later if he does you wrong,” Haden said. “If you’re dealing with an anonymous fortune 500 in some far away city, they don’t really care if they take advantage of you. So, you have to protect yourself and know what you’re doing and understand what you’re signing.”

Both Aiken and Haden recommend having an attorney review the contract before signing. Haden says current contracts are typically only a year or two long, but they might extend to five or 10 years as the market becomes more established.

Brownfield’s Kellan Heavican contributed to this article.

Dave Aiken Interview
Brent Haden Interview

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