June 16, 2017 by Ronjoy Bezbarua
(Source: AgWeb) For the past four years, the California Air Resources Board, the Environmental Defense Fund and others have been working behind the scenes to develop protocols that allow farmers to offset carbon emissions and get compensated for their efforts. On June 15, those groups celebrated a critical milestone as the first-ever voluntary carbon credits generated from U.S. rice farmers were sold to Microsoft. The two main compliance markets are driven by California and Quebec. In the California market alone, the state’s businesses will look to offset as much as 200 million tons of carbon by 2020. And that’s where farmers come in. In the rice pilot project, for example, farmers collect data to quantify how several production practices – such as dry seeding, alternate wetting and drying, and early drainage – reduce generation of around 30 pounds of methane per acre. With several participating farmers on board, the next step was getting the voluntary credits approved by two primary registry bodies, the Climate Action Reserve and the American Carbon Registry, which write standards, verify results and maintain carbon databases. With Microsoft as a buyer, the loop is finally completed. Voluntary carbon credits trade around $7 per ton, which makes the rice farmer credits worth about $2 per acre. Read full article….