Carbon Credits Coming For Grassland

Inside Dakota Ag

You may be able to earn an additional $16 to $25 per acre per year on grassland easements in the future.

Published on: November 6, 2013

Farmers and ranchers who maintain grassland easements in the Dakotas might be able to earn an extra one time payment of $16 to $25 per acre in carbon credits in the future.

Ducks Unlimited, NRCS and several private organizations have created a carbon credit program for grasslands. Enrolled land could not be tilled, but it could be put in a conservation program or used for grazing and/or haying. The carbon credit payment would be in addition to any conservation easement payments. The payment would vary on the land value, soil types, the carbon market and other factors

More than 100 landowners in eight North Dakota counties have been involved in the pilot project. Officials say they are looking forward rolling it out to other Prairie Pothole states if the methodology is expanded.

Upland grass surrounds a wetland in North Dakota. Photo: Ducks Unlimited.
Upland grass surrounds a wetland in North Dakota. Photo: Ducks Unlimited.

The carbon credit project provides Northern Great Plains producers with new ways to earn income from conservation activities, said Undersecretary for Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Bonnie in a statement.

“Our partnership with Ducks Unlimited helps preserve a treasured national landscape, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Carbon credits provide landowners with another working lands opportunity and an additional revenue option,” added Adam Chambers, NRCS air quality scientist.   “Basically, you’re farming carbon while running a normal diversified agricultural operation.”

The Climate Trust, American Carbon Registry, The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund and Terra Global Capital helped support the project.

Learn more about the project.