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Credit program reduces carbon dioxide emissions

Agriculture.com Staff 01/09/2007 @ 8:54am

A unique carbon sequestration credit program offered by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation through the Chicago Climate Exchange encourages the use of conservation tillage practices and provides an additional revenue opportunity to farmers in more than a dozen states, Dave Miller, IFBF director of research and commodity services, said at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 88th annual meeting.

The program is designed to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Miller noted that although carbon dioxide is a natural substance, too much of it can have adverse effects on the environment. According to Miller, carbon dioxide levels are on the rise.

"We know that taking carbon out of the atmosphere is good for the environment, it's good for farmers and it's good for the future of agriculture," said Miller. "We saw nothing but positive things coming from this program, so Iowa Farm Bureau members felt it was important to pursue it."

The carbon sequestration credit program encompasses two ideas:

  • Prevention/reduction of emissions produced through human activities from reaching the atmosphere by capturing and diverting them to secure storage.
  • Removal of carbon from the atmosphere by various means and securely storing it.

Trading on the exchange first began in December 2003 -- allowing companies to purchase carbon credits to offset greenhouse gas emissions. This market offers a revenue opportunity for farmers with continuously no-tilled fields and newly-established grasslands. Through this program, IFBF is working to combine farm-based carbon credits from agricultural offset projects for sale on the CCX, forming "pools" of ag-based carbon credits for certification. IFBF manages and administers carbon credit pools, registering individual farm projects, maintaining the database of ag-based credits, interfacing with the CCX, managing the sales of the credits in the pools and distributing sales proceeds to participants.

The carbon credit sequestration program provides incentives to farmers to encourage them to use conservation tillage practices. Interest in the program is growing. "The Iowa Farm Bureau has aggregated more than a half million credits, not just from Iowa but from 14 other states. More and more farmers want to get on board because they see the potential of helping the environment, plus adding another source of farm income," Miller said.

IFBF first began the program as a pilot in 2003. Because of its success in Iowa, the program was later expanded to national markets to further reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In December 2006, the organization began offering methane credit trading, as well. Miller said IFBF is currently working on forestry contracts.

A unique carbon sequestration credit program offered by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation through the Chicago Climate Exchange encourages the use of conservation tillage practices and provides an additional revenue opportunity to farmers in more than a dozen states, Dave Miller, IFBF director of research and commodity services, said at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 88th annual meeting.

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