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Farmers Union carbon credit enrollment deadline March 5


Missouri Farmers Union announced Feb. 20 the upcoming deadline of March 5 for farmers to enroll in the National Farmers Union carbon credit program. The program was created through a partnership with the National Farmers Union and approved by the Chicago Climate Exchange to enroll agriculture producers' acres into blocks of credits that are traded similarly to other agricultural commodities.

The program, which was introduced in 2006, has continued to expand. Missouri now has approximately 50 producers enrolled representing more than 10,000 acres. Producers that qualify for the program can be compensated for establishing conservation tillage (including no-till) and long-term grass seeding practices (including alfalfa for hay). These practices store or "sequester" carbon and reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, reducing greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

"The National Farmers Union's carbon credit program is an example of how new energy opportunities can contribute to farmers' bottom line," said Missouri Farmers Union President Russ Kremer. "Bringing a new revenue stream to agriculture that also works to promote conservation and good stewardship practices is an example of how Missouri agriculture can benefit from this new market."

Seeded grass stands may earn carbon credits provided that the acres have a FSA cropping history, were originally converted to grass after January 1, 1999, and will be maintained as a permanent grass stand. Conservation Reserve Program acres are eligible to participate in the seeded grass program. No-till credits may be paid to operators who commit to using continuous conservation tillage practices for the entire term of a five-year contract.

Five year contracts are signed by producers who are eligible and wish to enroll in the program. The March 5 deadline covers contracts for 2009-2013 with the option to include one back year of credit payments for 2008. It is anticipated this is the last enrollment that will include the option to include one back year of payments.

Enrollment is completed through the Internet at http://carboncredit.ndfu.org. The website directs producers to answer a series of questions to determine if they have farms that qualify, a payment calculator to determine their estimated payments, toll-free telephone numbers for assistance and a relatively simple enrollment forms.

For more information on National Farmers Union's carbon credit program, contact National Farmers Union at 701-952-6156 or carboncredit@ndfu.org. Missouri producers can also contact Missouri Farmers Union with questions or for assistance in enrolling at 573-659-4787 or info@missourifarmersunion.org.

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