Kosciusko County farmer and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Kip Tom says the U.S. has the tools to deal with climate and farmers know how to use them. “I think we’re going to be the industry that is the solution for climate change,” said Tom during a conversation on the Ag+Bio+Science podcast, presented by AgriNovus Indiana.
Tom says one of the tools is the emissions trading market, or carbon market. Carbon markets aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by allowing businesses, in this case farmers, to be paid for reducing emissions. Farmers can sell their credits to other entities that emit higher levels of greenhouse gases.
“I think these carbon markets got a long way to go to mature to really be able to be used by a lot of producers,” said Tom to AgriNovus Chief Executive Officer Mitch Frazier, who hosted the podcast.
Tom says businesses have been buying and selling carbon for a number of years, but usually more direct to customers. “I think there’s a lot of work to be done. We don’t know if the CME is going to be trading this or what role the USDA plays in this,” said Tom.
However, he says farmers need to be prepared to make sure that they are capturing the right amount of data that can be validated to support the carbon market.
Frazier says recent data shows over 90% of Hoosier farmers are not yet participating in carbon markets, but two-thirds plan to in the future.
“Simplicity has to be paramount as they go forward to for them to actually participate,” said Frazier. “And we heard one of the biggest challenges was around data and the amount of data that has to be assembled from multiple years from multiple sources to even begin to validate the credits.”
Tom thinks farmers need to spend time now educating themselves on how data systems work, but they also need to feel comfortable in ensuring the data is secure. “We don’t want to have to worry about the wrong people getting a hold of that data. But it’s going to be that data that’s going to be the underlying base to support those carbon credits,” said Tom.
The new Ag+Bio+Science podcast comes out Monday. Click here to learn more.