USDA study reveals awareness in carbon markets doesn’t translate into participation

A recent study from USDA has found that there’s still plenty of uncertainty for farmers interested in tapping into the carbon market space.

“We’re really still on the frontier of how agriculture can play a role in carbon sequestration.”

Brad Lubben, an ag policy specialist with the University of Nebraska, says he agrees with the report, which found that awareness is not translating into participation because of several barriers that exist. “In terms of trying to figure out which opportunities really provide value and which opportunities are feasible? How do we work them? There is still adoption hesitancy as we are trying to understand where these carbon opportunities fit.”

The USDA released A General Assessment of the Role Agriculture and Forestry in the US Carbon Markets report, which identified several barriers including return on investment concerns, cropping transition costs, verifying carbon reduction and greenhouse gas quantification.”

He tells Brownfield verification of carbon credits remains a concern. “Whether you’re getting paid for practices or getting paid for outputs.  Outputs are how much are carbon can you really capture and how can we measure that? Practices are if you do this practice what is it worth?”

The report says there is still plenty of awareness for carbon markets, but that has not translated to a high rate of participation among landowners and operators. It also said rates are lower among livestock owners.

The report also indicated that USDA could help improve enrollment by technical assistance and outreach.

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