Tuesday, March 10th, 2009
By Nancy Allen
Farmers invited to learn about selling carbon credits
  There's an emerging revenue opportunity for farmers in the form of selling carbon credits generated when they implement conservation measures on their land.
On Thursday, a free meeting on the topic will be held at 7 p.m. at the Shelby County Agricultural Center, 820 Fair Road, Sidney. The meeting will last about two hours and there is no advance registration.
Carbon credits result from specific land management practices that capture and store carbon from the atmosphere, a news release from the Shelby County OSU Extension states.
Some of these practices include no-till and strip-till farming, planting grasses through the USDA's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), and new and managed forestry.
In short, plants pull carbon dioxide out of the air and tie it up in the plant tissue. As long as the soil is not tilled or the trees not harvested, carbon credits can be earned. These credits have value and can be sold on the Chicago Climate Exchange (www.chicagoclimatex.com).
Entities such as factories that generate too much carbon dioxide can buy carbon credits on the Chicago Climate Exchange to offset their carbon production.
AgraGate, a subsidiary of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, is a leading aggregator of carbon credits from agriculture, the release states. On behalf of farmers and private forest owners, the company has marketed carbon credits from more than 1.8 million acres in 26 states on the Chicago Climate Exchange.
In 2008, AgraGate paid out more than $4.2 million to farmers holding carbon credits throughout the nation. Approximately 30 Ohio farmers are selling carbon credits through AgraGate Climate Credit Corporation (www.agragate.com).
At the present time, the value of a carbon credit is not great - approximately $2 per acre - but many people believe carbon credits could become more valuable if Congress passes climate change legislation. Carbon dioxide is one of several greenhouse gasses believed to contribute to global warming.
Producers who would like to learn more about this new revenue opportunity are invited to attend the meeting on Thursday. Mark Wilson, president of Land Stewards, Ohio's representative for AgraGate Climate Credits Corporation, will share specifics of the program.
Roger Bender, Shelby County OSU Extension educator, said it would be a good idea for farmers to look into the idea.
"You don't need to believe in global warming, but if the money is going to be paid out, you might as well take advantage of it," he said. "And if Congress does what it says it's going to do, the value of carbon credits might go up."
People with questions can call Shelby County OSU Extension educator Roger Bender at 937-498-7239 or e-mail him at bender.5@cfaes.osu.edu.

If you go:
What: Carbon credit meeting
When: March 19, 7 p.m.
Where: Shelby County Agricultural Center, 820 Fair Road, Sidney
For more info: Call Roger Bender, Shelby County OSU Extension educator at 937-498-7239 or e-mail bender.5@cfaes.osu.edu
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