What's Your Take on Carbon Credits?

img_1351.JPG [3]In a time where many cattle producers are exiting the business, ranchers may need to find new ways to add value and generate revenue in their operations. Many ranchers are exploring carbon sequestration as a viable resource to increase profits. Carbon sequestration is the capture and secure storage of carbon that would otherwise be emitted to or remain in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, carbon credits are the equivalent of one metric ton of CO2/acre/year.

Carbon credits are used to prevent and reduce carbon emissions produced by human activities from reaching the atmosphere by capturing and diverting them to secure storage. Carbon credits also work to remove carbon from the atmosphere by various means of storage. Carbon is lost through the soil through the shifting of land usage from grass and trees to crops and development, cultivation, increased aeration, and natural soil erosion. Improved carbon management in agricultural soils improves soil quality.

The Chicago Climate Exchange [4] is a greenhouse gas emission reduction program with voluntary, self-regulatory members who have made a legally binding commitment to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gasses by six percent by 2010. Carbon credit aggregators manage and administer carbon “pools” which are sold on the Chicago Climate Exchange. The carbon stored in the soil creates an offset, and in that offset, rests the opportunity for the producer.

Could this be the next big opportunity for farmers and ranchers to increase their earning power simply with better managing practices? Are you already involved in this program or thinking about it? What's your take on carbon sequestration? I know of a few producers that have started these projects and have already found great success with this program. If you have never explored this option before, head to the Frequently Asked Questions [5] at the Chicago Climate Exchange today.