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What does a carbon buyer want?

An ag economist says carbon markets have potential for farmers to earn added income, but cautions knowing what’s expected before committing to contracts.

Brent Gloy with Ag Economics Insights, and a Nebraska farmer, tells Brownfield true emission reductions purchased should be permanent, verifiable, and without leakage where offsets could be lost somewhere else.

“Let’s say you have a forest, and you agree not to cut down those trees, that may just encourage someone else in another part of the world to cut their trees down,” he explains.

While additionality practices gain more debate, Gloy takes the perspective of the end-user of carbon markets and says they are needed to add efforts that go beyond industry standards.

“Say I’m doing no-till and I should be paid for it because I adopted early,” he says.  “On my own farm I kind of see that point, but at the same time, if you’re the one buying, and that’s normally adopted then you don’t necessarily want to pay for that.  That doesn’t mean we don’t want to incentivize things.”

Gloy says it’s likely some companies will reward practices already in place to create a baseline market but when looking at long-term practices in a principle scorecard fashion, not all offsets are equal.

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