By: Farmobile Editors
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Farmobile’s Steve Cubbage on AgriTalk (@ 15:26 to 23:57)
Emerging carbon markets is, once again, a hot topic. And it’s not going away.
Steve Cubbage, Farmobile VP of Services, spoke with AgriTalk guest host Tyne Morgan, Dece. 17, 2020, about carbon farming and what farmers need to consider as opportunities emerge. If you missed the conversation, it’s worth a look back.
The basic concept is that farmers, who do environmentally-friendly practices, provide a potential solution to major companies which seekg to be carbon neutral and look to farmers to offset their environmental footprint. Do you agree?
- Steve: Absolutely. Obviously the land is the key factor here … that really puts farmers and producers in the driver’s seat, because it (soil) has carbon sequestration capabilities and gives them the ability to sell carbon credits back to some of those industries, which don’t have that opportunity.
Is it too good to be true … getting paid for carbon as another revenue stream? Is this really real?
- Steve: I think it is yet to-be-determined as to how real it is. Obviously there is going to be a lot of jockeying in this space — especially in this next year, I see it kind of being like the Wild West in the carbon space …. The good news is a lot of this is being driven by the private side, which means there is going to be a lot of innovation for this marketplace. And, I think that’s good. But I think there is also some need to put some structure around it and I think that will come from the government side.
Steve cautioned everyone — especially growers — to “take a deep breath” and prepare.
- Steve: There is going to be some specific ‘asks’ around this when it comes to what you (farmers) really need to do in order to prove that you are actually putting carbon back into the soil and be able to compete in this marketplace.
How do farmers prepare? Steve said growers should understand the realities and get educated.
- Read and know the fine print. Carbon markets won’t be a short-term ‘ask’. Some of the contracts are likely to be 10 years.
- Data is needed to prove practices. Make sure you are documenting every pass on your field.
- Host a discussion with landlords. Rental agreements could be affected by participation in these markets.
Why now? What makes carbon sequestration a viable option for farmers? What has changed?
- Steve: Obviously the Millennial generation has driven consciousness about how their food is being produced… And, the government is going to play their role. You’re going to see that with the change in (Biden) Administration (the U.S. is back in the Paris Climate Accord)… So, this is not going to go away and will only accelerate over the next four years.
Who sets the payments structure, targets and goals? Is there an industry standard?
- Steve. Once again, that’s to be determined. …There is a working group out of Washington called ESMC (The Ecosystem Services Market Consortium) that is working toward carbon and water quality credits and really trying to put some ‘meat on the bones’. I think you are going to see that kind of work itself out in 2021 .
What is the biggest question farmers should ask if they are thinking about venturing into carbon markets?
- Steve. The biggest questions are: 1) what’s the commitment, 2) how much am I going to get paid, and 3) what kind of changes am I going to have to make, because some of those changes are going to be costly as well. You (farmers) want to make sure you are making money on selling carbon and that’s key because that’s just an alternative crop that’s on top of what you can sell right out of the field.