‘Additionality’ Issue keeps some Farmers out of Carbon Markets


By Rhonda Brooks, AgWeb

November 16, 2021


When Mike Estadt talks with Ohio farmers using no-till and cover crops who want to participate in carbon markets, he often tells them they are unlikely to qualify for those opportunities.


“These are farmers who’ve been in no-till for 20 or 30 years, and they’ve probably sequestered all the carbon that they can,” says Estadt, Ohio State University county Extension educator for Pickaway County.


Old Versus New


At the crux of the matter in those scenarios is a term the carbon industry refers to as additionality.


To qualify as a genuine carbon offset, the reductions achieved by a project need to be “additional” to what would have happened if the project had not been carried out.


In most scenarios, companies want to incentivize growers by paying them to use regenerative farming practices, especially no-till and cover crops, on ground where they haven’t used such practices previously.


“No one wants to pay for what happened last year, two years ago or five years ago, because corporations and governments can’t make (carbon offset or inset) claims for that,” explains Debbie Reed, executive director of Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC).


That reality keeps some farmers out of the marketplace...


Layer On Practices ...