May 22, 2022

Ag policy trends: Carbon credit markets, sustainability discussed at summit

DANVILLE, Ind. — The theme of this year’s Ag Policy Summit was “sustainability and new trends in agriculture.”

The event was held on July 27 at the Hendricks County Fairgrounds, presented by the Indiana Corn Growers Association and the Indiana Soybean Alliance.

Farmers are the original stewards of the land, said Mike Koehne, farmer and board member at ISA.

“Generally when we talk about sustainability, we’re thinking of climate-smart practices and legislation like the Growing Climate Solutions Act, which was sponsored by Indiana Senator Mike Braun and Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and passed the Senate last month,” Koehne said.

“That bill will create a technical certification so that farmers who want to voluntarily get into carbon markets can find trustworthy resources to help them.”

Ben Gordon, the carbon and ecosystem services global portfolio leader with Corteva, advised farmers to fully investigate the many carbon credit programs that are available before making a final decision.

Gordon said farmers need to make sure that any carbon credit program must fit a producer’s farm before it is adopted.

“Conservation and sustainability have a longstanding history with agriculture, but the development of voluntary carbon credit programs is a new frontier,” said Mike Beard, ICGA president.

“ICGA and ISA are participating in the carbon working group that you heard from in the panel discussion this morning, and we are starting to realize how many carbon credit programs are already being offered and how many more are developing. This is why we are dedicating time and resources to figure out how farmers can safely participate.”

The organizations also are advocating for carbon credit program providers to establish look-back protocols and reward those farmers who have been using sustainable practices for many years.

“If we’re going to move forward with this market model, then we need to find a way to reward all types of participants,” Beard said.

At the summit, the Friend of Farmer Award was presented to state Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg. Leising was honored, in part, for her efforts in helping farm-friendly bills through the Indiana Senate during her time in office.

The 2021-2022 Soy Scholarship award, sponsored by BASF and the American Soybean Association, was given to Sydney Hefty of Auburn. The scholarship is a $5,000 award presented to a high school senior who excels in both academics and in leadership roles and plans to pursue a degree in an agriculture-related field at an accredited college or university.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor