YOUR TEXAS AGRICULTURE MINUTE
More questions than answers on voluntary carbon markets
By Gary Joiner
A lot of work remains on the establishment of voluntary carbon markets for farmers and ranchers.
The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture recently hosted a hearing on the topic. Committee chairman David Scott said voluntary carbon markets could help farmers, ranchers and foresters capture a new income stream.
Farmers and ranchers, however, have more questions than answers.
Questions include determining how carbon is measured, how baselines are determined and data privacy issues. There’s also concerns about costs of implementation and foregone income calculations, ease of participation and contract provisions. And the list of questions goes on.
Farmers and ranchers already use climate-smart practices. Any efforts to streamline carbon markets should incentivize those existing practices.
It’s important that any kind of carbon tax or cap is avoided. Carbon credits should be fully researched by USDA and other federal agencies to help standardize the credit market accounting and to ensure it’s a scientifically sound and practical solution. And it must be profitable for the farmer and rancher to participate. Otherwise, the voluntary markets will struggle.
More research is needed. And farmers and ranchers await answers to their many important questions.
The preceding commentary is brought to you by Texas Farm Bureau, the “Voice of Texas Agriculture.” Called “Your Texas Agriculture Minute,” TFB will issue thought-provoking editorials each week—via print and audio—to spark understanding of agriculture in the Lone Star State and its impact on each and every Texan.
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