Farmers across America are well-positioned to benefit from President Biden as he proposes his plan to pay hemp farmers adopting carbon farming practices on their farms. This proposal comes as part of President Biden’s commitment to half the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
If this proposal goes into effect, the United States would be able to redirect some funds from the US Department of Agriculture to create a carbon market and pay farmers directly to adopt more eco-friendly farming practices. The government hopes that this will incentivize more farmers to practice carbon farming and benefit the environment tremendously.
What is Carbon Farming?
In simple terms, carbon farming refers to the process of sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. There are various approaches to carbon farming, from choosing which plants to include in your crop rotation to which methods and tools to use on your farm.
With this proposal, the Biden administration wishes to incentivize farmers to be more deliberate about using farming practices to reduce the amount of atmospheric carbon and thus reduce the greenhouse gas effect. It is no secret that our agricultural practices significantly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. For instance, cows contribute about 15% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. For this reason, we cannot have a feasible climate solution that doesn’t involve farmers significantly changing their practices. This proposal to incentivize carbon farming is an excellent place to start.
Joe Frey, the owner of Western States Hemp in Nevada, said it best when he said, “American farmers don’t realize that they are the key to curb climate change while simultaneously increasing their profits. If the initial profits can be right under their nose, I think they will slowly buy into and adopt the practices on their own.”
What is the Opportunity for Hemp Farmers?
While all farmers can theoretically benefit from this initiative once implemented by adopting carbon farming techniques on their farms, the farmers best placed to benefit are hemp farmers. This is because of hemp’s unique ability to sequester massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Experts believe that a single ton of hemp can sequester 1.62 tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide. If calculated by landmass, a hectare of hemp can sequester up to 22 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These kinds of numbers have led many in the hemp industry to get excited over this announcement.
According to Jonathan Miller, lawyer for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable advocacy organization, this is a tremendous opportunity for the hemp industry.
“We see this as a great opportunity for the hemp industry and a great opportunity for the planet,” said Mr. Miller.
Others in the industry believe that this will finally give hemp the recognition it deserves as an environmentally friendly plant that we should be deliberate about cultivating for the good of the environment.
“It’s a shame that hemp as a regenerative crop that uses less water, has better carbon dioxide sequestration rates than trees and has more market value than a typical cover crop is still kind of an underdog,” said Angela Dawson, founder of the 40 Acre Cooperative, a network of Black and socially disadvantaged hemp farmers based in Sandstone, Minnesota.
How will Hemp Farmers Benefit from Biden’s Plan?
Some of the direct benefits of this proposal for the hemp industry include;
- Carbon payments would be an additional income generator for farmers.
- More farmers might be inspired to add hemp to their crop rotation, increasing hemp cultivation across the United States.
- Reduced stigma for hemp as more people are made aware of its benefits to the environment.
While all these benefits seem significant, this proposal is still a long way from becoming a reality. The Department of Agriculture has yet to release details of how the proposal will be implemented. Many experts are concerned about the plan’s feasibility, saying it would be hard to track the total carbon sequestered and price the various carbon farming efforts.
Biden Proposes Plan to Pay Hemp Farmers for Carbon
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