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The still-germinating carbon credits market favors no-tillers, who ought to get on board early to make the most of the long-term financial rewards. That’s the advice from Mark Wilson, president of Land Stewards, a Columbus, Ohio-based consulting firm hired by the non-profit Ohio No-Till Council to study the subject.
Although carbon credits have been discussed in the agricultural media for several years, the market is still in its early stages. No government regulations exist. The participants set the rules and the prices.
To get in on the action, no-tillers must be willing to make a multi-year commitment to maintaining their minimum- or no-till practices, agree to verification procedures and find an “aggregator” — an organization that combines carbon credits from multiple farmers into one large package, perhaps 25,000 acres worth, that can be sold to a company looking to offset the pollution it creates.
No-tillers currently earn about $1 per acre per year, according to Mike Walsh, senior vice president of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). The CCX is the only established exchange in the United States where carbon credit buyers and sellers congregate to do business. That current rate means a grower with 1,000 continuous no-till acres could earn $1,000 annually for merely continuing his established practices.
The Land Stewards report to the Ohio No-Till Council recommends: “If you’re committed to no-till or minimum-till for the long term or have a significant number of CRP acres, begin to study existing carbon credit trading programs and consider registering…