Carbon markets to remain varied until USDA sets standard


Carbon markets to remain varied until USDA sets standard

An ag economist says carbon credit program standards are widely varied and will likely continue to be until USDA sets a standard.

The University of Missouri’s Ray Massey compares the market to the Organic Standards Act.

“There were different organic standards for different states, and then all of a sudden, there was the USDA organic standard,” Massey said. “And the other state standards just went in line with that.”

He said right now there are different standards from different companies on how carbon sequestration is measured, what practice is capturing the premium and the duration of contracts.

“When there’s finally a federal rule that says, ‘this is what a carbon credit looks like’ that will really help things out,” he said.

But Massey said a USDA standard likely won’t come for five years or more. And he says a USDA carbon sequestration standard might limit the premium on some programs.

“But others will perhaps become more valuable,” Massey said. “Because if they do have a set standard, everybody knows how we’re working the market. That certainty in the market actually has very important economic benefits.”

Massey recommends farmers speak with their lawyer before signing a contract to sequester carbon.

Brownfield interviewed Massey at the Missouri Livestock Symposium.

Ray Massey Interview