Farmers Paid for Carbon Sequestration or Fined if they Don’t?
Since the Biden Administration came into office we began hearing a lot more about global climate change, carbon dioxide and carbon sequestration. Then there was talk about thirty thirty which many assumed meant taking 30 percent of our land out of production by the year 2030. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsac said that was not true but they would use current USDA programs to encourage farmers to adopt practices that would sequester more carbon in the soil.
We have heard a lot of talk and ideas but very few details. I called Warren Formo Executive Director of the Minnesota Agriculture Water Resource Center to maybe get some details on carbon sequestration. While the Center specializes in water quality issues when you are dealing with the environment everything seems intertwined. Warren said there are a lot of ideas but very few details at this point.
Warren points out that since the 1970 farmers have been moving to much less tillage which helps build soil organic matter. So, really farmers have been sequestrating more carbon in the soil over the last few decades. Remember, organic matter in the soil is carbon. He said the debate is, should farmers be rewarded for the carbon sequestration we have already accomplished? On the other side are those who say maybe we should penalize farmers who have not reduced tillage and increases organic matter or the carbon in the soil.
There are a lot of unknowns about carbon sequestration and how it will benefit farmers or maybe just more rules and regulations. Click on the link and listen to Warren discuss carbon sequestration.