Carbon What? An investigation of producer participation in carbon credit markets
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Series/Report no.:Human and Community Resource Development. Graduate student poster competition, 2009
Climate change is a worldwide environmental problem that will affect every citizen of the planet. Societies can respond to climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the rate and the magnitude of effects caused by climate change. Economists have proposed using a market system to aid in the mitigation of climate change because it creates financial incentives to innovate and conserve, which is viewed as more effective than a system of laws that will be difficult and expensive to enforce. Agriculture is a major contributor to the problem of climate change, but also has the capacity to be a part of the solution. Carbon markets have presented farmers with the opportunity to be paid for practices that decrease emissions and sequester carbon, such as no-till farming. Little research has been done on farmer participation in carbon credit markets, although much research has been done on some of the best management practices that are eligible for carbon credits such as no-till farming and rotational grazing. The idea that farmers would enroll in a program to receive financial benefit for a management practice that they are already doing seems intuitive. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that many eligible farmers are not enrolling in carbon credit programs. This study investigates the extent to which no-till farmers participate in carbon markets, focusing on their knowledge and perception of carbon markets, barriers to participation and the factors that influence their decision to participate. The data for this study consists of a survey of farmers and industry professionals attending a Conservation Tillage and Technology conference in Ada, Ohio. Initial results show that no-till farmer rates of participation in carbon credit programs are very low.