• • • Secretary Perdue Is Open to Carbon Markets for Farmers
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue expressed support for carbon markets for farmers during a meeting, Rep. Chellie Pingree said. An upcoming agriculture appropriations bill will likely include language that urges USDA to research the possibility of such markets, added the Maine Democrat, speaking at a Food & Environment Reporting Network event.
Agriculture is responsible for about 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., but farms also have the ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere through measures such as planting of cover crops. But planting those crops isn’t always profitable enough to make it worthwhile, especially if the crop can’t be sold. One way that environmental, food, and farming groups have proposed solving this dilemma is through carbon markets, or paying farmers for the amount of carbon they sequester.
In March, a coalition of environmental organizations and food companies announced their efforts to build a market that would pay farmers for carbon sequestration and cleaner water. General Mills, ADM, Cargill, McDonald’s, and The Nature Conservancy are among 10 groups involved in the effort. The program would give farmers credits for their efforts to sequester carbon or protect water quality, and then companies could buy those credits to reach their own sustainability goals. They plan to build the market by 2022.