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How are farmers looking at carbon programs?

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LOOKING AHEAD: Turning your farm into a carbon sink as a business may be a good idea. The Farm Progress PANEL offers its take in the idea.
The Farm Progress PANEL shows that many farmers are watching those new carbon programs but may not be signing up yet

There is a lot of interest in programs that might pay farmers to adopt practices to sequester carbon. Those efforts and programs are being promoted by some big names in the industry. But what are farmers thinking about this potential new income opportunity.

We asked our Farm Progress PANEL members to find out. The question: How do you view the programs offering to pay farmers for carbon sequestration?

Of those responding only 3% say they've enrolled their farm in any program. Small number that may be driven by a lot of factors from skepticism to concerns about returns.

The second highest response came from those who say they would enroll but the payment doesn't cover the added costs of sequestering the carbon. That group, 15%, are voicing a concern regarding per-acre payments that, for now, don't cover the cost of the additional practice that's aimed to earn the income including cover crops or tillage changes.

The highest response hit 62% and this is a group that shows people are keeping an eye on these programs. That group responded to the choice "We're waiting to see how these programs evolve." Given the pile of new programs that hit the market in 2021 and are continuing in 2022, it appears farmers are reviewing their options. The fact that in most cases these programs require adding a new practice versus continuing what they've been doing may be what drives this group of respondents.

And one-fifth of respondents chose "It's not something we would take part in," which shows that there is a group of farmers not interested in being part of these programs. No way to know exactly why, but most programs available today do require the addition of a new practice including cover crops. And as our panel showed last week, nearly half of farmers polled don't do cover crops.

Thanks to everyone who responded to these PANEL questions.

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Let your voice be heard

The Farm Progress PANEL is your chance to share your thoughts on key issues. To take part, start by signing up for our daily mobile text service Farm Progress NOW. To do that text FARM to 20505, and be sure to respond to the text that follows we have a double opt-in system to make sure you're signed up.

Later in one of our daily update texts we'll provide information about how to sign up for the PANEL. And thanks to the respondents for helping us out.

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