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The Carbon Credit pilot project offered by the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) has recently opened a new signup period. CCX has given approval for aggregators to write contracts for no-till and seeded grass beyond 2010, which was the formal end of the previous phase of the pilot project.


The contract for the current signup period is for the 5-year period of 2008-2012, with the option to cover 2007. Producers who sign up their acreage into the program during the current signup period must agree to maintain their land according to contract provisions for the entire contract period in order to be eligible to receive payments. The deadline for the current signup period is Sept. 15, 2008.


There are three types of programs for soil carbon offset credits in Kansas:


1. Conservation tillage


The enrollment criteria are included in the map below.


A. Eastern Kansas counties are now eligible for a carbon credit of 0.6 metric tons of CO2 per acre per year for conservation tillage for the years 2008-2012.


B. In central Kansas, producers are eligible for a carbon credit of 0.4 metric tons of CO2 per acre per year for conservation tillage on dryland acres, and 0.6 metric tons of CO2 per acre per year for conservation tillage on irrigated acres for the years 2008-2012.


C. In western Kansas, producers are eligible for a carbon credit of 0.2 metric tons of CO2 per acre per year for conservation tillage on dryland acres, and 0.6 metric tons of CO2 per acre per year for conservation tillage on irrigated acres for the years 2008-2012.


General eligibility criteria and practices for the region include but are not limited to the following:


* Enrolled acres may be planted in soybeans no more 50 percent of the enrolled years;

* Continuous cotton and soybeans are eligible only if there is a cover crop.

* Eligible implements include: no-till drill, no-till and strip-till planters, rolling harrows, low disturbance liquid manure injectors, anhydrous ammonia applicator, manure knife applicator, sub-soil ripper with at least 24-inch shank spacing.

* Ineligible implements include: field cultivators, tandem disk, offset disk, chisel plow, moldboard plow.

* In general if the implement would require that a leveling or smoothing activity follow, it would likely result in too much soil disturbance.

* Fallowed acres are not eligible in this region.

* No Exchange Soil Offsets will be issued in years in which residue removal occurs.

* Residue burning is not allowed. 






CCX does not accept new contract enrollments that utilize ridge-till. Also, CCX will not issue carbon credits on row crop land that has the crop residue removed (silage, straw baling, straw burning, corn stalk baling, etc.). This does not apply to alfalfa or grass hay, or grass pasturing. Land on which the residue is removed will receive zero "0" credit for the year in which the residue is removed. 


2. New grass plantings


Land planted to grass on or after January 1, 1999 is eligible for carbon credits at the rate of 1.0 tons CO2 per acre per year. The entire state of Kansas is eligible for this program. Details are at:




3. Rangeland


CCX has developed contracts for agricultural carbon emission reductions for improved rangeland management. Western and central Kansas counties are eligible for this program, but not eastern Kansas counties (see map below). Basic specifications include:


* Minimum 5 year contractual commitment.

* Non-degraded rangeland managed to increase carbon sequestration through grazing land management that employs sustainable stocking rates, rotational grazing and seasonal use in eligible locations.

* Restoration of previously degraded rangeland through adoption of sustainable stocking rates, rotational grazing and seasonal use grazing practices initiated on or after January 1, 1999.

* Projects must take place within designated land resource regions.

* Offsets are issued at standard rates depending on project type and location.

* Rates vary from 0.12 to 0.52 metric tons of CO2 per acre per year.

* All projects must be independently verified by a CCX-approved verifier.


To provide evidence of compliance in the rangeland program, the CCX will require site photographs, ranch stocking records, and records from agricultural extension agencies. To obtain a copy of the protocol for quantifying GHG reductions from managed rangeland, see:





There are many details and stipulations involved in each of these programs, and producers should review the contract closely. Producers can sign a contract for the CCX program through either the Iowa Farm Bureau or National Farmers Union.


In the Iowa Farm Bureau’s program, producers can sign up for “Pool 6” from now through September 15, 2008. Producers interested in the Pool 6 phase of this carbon credit pilot project can find a complete description of the program and a copy of the XSO (Exchange Soil Offset) sales contract at:



For more information, contact David Miller, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, 515-225-5430, or e-mail: damiller@ifbf.org


The National Farmers Union is also currently accepting new contracts for the expanded enrollment acres in the CCX program. The NFU carbon credit program web site is undergoing revisions, but should be up and running again soon, if it’s not already. The criteria of the NFU carbon credit program are the same as those of the Iowa Farm Bureau’s. Details of the program and a copy of the contract can be found at: http://nfu.org/issues/environment/carbon-credits


For more information, contact Donn Teske, Kansas Farmers Union, 620-241-6630, or e-mail: dteske@bluevalley.net.


Prices on the CCX for carbon credits are currently averaging about $2.00 per metric ton of CO2 equivalent. The aggregators (Iowa Farm Bureau and National Farmers Union) determine when the credits are sold on the market, and take a small percentage of this for overhead.


The CCX program also offers offset credits for methane and forestry plantings. Complete details of the CCX offset programs and current prices can be found at: http://www.chicagoclimateexchange.com/



-- Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications