USDA, Chevrolet and Ducks Unlimited help ranchers sell carbon credits

USDA, General Motors and Ducks Unlimited are part of a project unveiled today that creates a market for carbon credits generated on working grasslands.

As part of the project, landowners voluntarily place lands under a perpetual easement but retain rights to work the land, such as raising livestock or growing hay. The carbon storage benefits are quantified, verified, and formally registered, resulting in carbon credits.

The carbon credits are made available to entities interested in purchasing carbon offsets. In turn, the landowners receive compensation for the carbon credits generated on their lands. “Ranchers benefit from new revenue streams, while thriving grasslands provide nesting habitat for wildlife, are more resilient to extreme weather, and help mitigate the impact of climate change,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release.

In the “first-of-its kind” transaction detailed at a Washington press conference, Chevrolet, a division of General Motors, purchased almost 40,000 carbon dioxide reduction tons generated on working ranch grasslands in the Prairie Pothole region of North Dakota.

Robert Bonnie, USDA’s under secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, explained USDA’s involvement in the project. He was joined by Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and representatives for General Motors, The Climate Trust, and Ducks Unlimited. <more>

Nov. 17, 2014 Agri-Pulse