Is Carbon the ‘Crop’ of the Future?

May 27, 2021

Changes in environment, government policy, and technology increase interest in carbon farming

An increasing awareness and concern about the environment, changes in government policy, America’s re-entry into the Paris Agreement and a robust demand for carbon offsets all point toward an appetite for a different type of agricultural crop – carbon.

“There has been an increasing amount of discussion on how to create a way for farmers to earn credits for the climate-friendly practices they have implemented or will implement on their operations,” said Joe Outlaw, Ph.D., co-director of the Agriculture and Food Policy Center at the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and economist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Bryan-College Station. “One of these ways is through carbon farming that would allow for the capture or sequestration of soil organic carbon, making it possible for the sale of carbon credits to corporations so they may offset their greenhouse gas emissions.”

However, many questions on the efficacy of carbon farming and its worth to the farmer are as yet unanswered. Will there be incentives to attract a sufficient number of farmers for it to work? How much trouble will it be to implement and monitor these carbon capture methods? Will some farmers benefit more than others? Will farmers be credited for the actions they have already taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? 

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