Renewed interest in carbon markets and carbon credit trading is quickly finding its way to the farm. In an effort to provide updates and answer questions, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will hold a public webinar from 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 11.
A group of specialists will discuss the basics of what a carbon market is, how people can participate, the benefits and consequences of participating, and the things landowners and tenants should consider.
"Some farmers are already being asked to join marketing agreements," says Chad Hart, an economics professor and Extension grain markets specialist at Iowa State University. "Over the last six to eight months in particular, we have seen a lot of private companies starting to set up their carbon trading mechanisms, and some are reaching out to landowners."
Hart will discuss the economic aspects of a carbon market and the potential for additional income. He will be joined by Marshall McDaniel, assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy at ISU; and Kristine Tidgren, director of the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation at ISU and holder of the Leonard Dolezal professorship in agricultural law.
McDaniel will discuss the science of carbon sequestration and how conservation practices can lead to sequestration. Tidgren will talk about the legal implications of contracts.
"We will discuss the knowns and unknowns related to soil carbon management," McDaniel says. "There is still a lot that is unknown about monitoring soil carbon and the best ways to do it."
Even so, McDaniel says that there is a clear connection between certain farming practices — especially conservation practices — and measurable carbon sequestration.
Efforts to sequester carbon usually lead to other ecosystem benefits as well, such as improved water infiltration, reduced nutrient loss and reduced flooding.
"There are multiple co-benefits that come along when we sequester soil carbon," he says.
The webinar will be moderated by Jamie Benning, assistant director for agriculture and natural resources with ISU Extension and Outreach. There will be time for questions after the presentations are made.
The webinar will be provided via Zoom. To participate, visit iastate.zoom.us/j/99971383632#success. There is no preregistration, and there is no cost to participate.
The agenda is available on the Ag Decision Maker website, and a recording of the webinar will be posted here within a few days after it is held.
For more information, Benning can be reached at 515-294-6038 or [email protected].