Farmers and ranchers, as stewards of our nation’s land, can deliver tremendous value to improve the climate, water, air, and soil resources on which we depend. Climate change is imposing costs on producers, including increased floods, droughts, and pests. Yet traditional climate policy designs would impose burdens on growers through higher costs on inputs and possible regulations. RIPE proposes investing in farmers and ranchers to help them adapt and contribute through voluntary stewardship practices while increasing yields to feed a growing global population.
Most climate policy initiatives aimed at helping agricultural producers propose “carbon farming” payments for climate smart practices, but those will only compensate growers for a portion of the input cost increase from the policy overall, leaving farmers and ranchers with an economic loss from climate policy in the near term.
For example, a $42/ton carbon fee on the energy sectors will cost a potato grower around $75/acre in extra energy-based input costs such as fertilizer and fuel. A carbon farming stewardship practice like cover crops costs around $38/acre to implement. The carbon farming payment would be around $25/acre based on the cover crop’s carbon sequestration contributions. This leaves the potato farmer at a net loss of $88/acre. **RIPE commissioned a third-party economic analysis of carbon fee impact by commodity and region that is available to partners. To learn more, please contact us.
This is why most ag trade groups have reasonably opposed most climate policies.
We can design a better policy that helps the environment and helps growers’ bottom line too.