Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station
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Vast expanses of rangeland and farmland in South Dakota could benefit from climate-smart agriculture initiatives like nature-based carbon ranching and farming.

Carbon Ranching & Farming: The Next Cash Crop In Ag

MARTIN, S.D. – Nature-based carbon ranching and farming helps producers reap the proven benefits of a conservation approach.  Climate-smart agriculture initiatives in South Dakota are proving popular, with an increasing number of producers looking closely at what many see as the next cash crop for their operations – carbon.

For example, South Dakota State University was awarded $80 million of the $2.8 billion the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing in 70 selected projects as part of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Initiative. It’s also been awarded $1 million to implement climate-smart practices into ranching and farming.

South Dakota Farm Bureau is hosting an informational session on ag carbon markets and carbon credits to be discussed in Martin, S.D., on June 18, 2024, at the Crossroads Inn. The event begins at 6:00 p.m. MT and will include a complimentary meal followed by a presentation by Kelsey Miller of Agoro Carbon Alliance.

A commonly held view among conservationists and environmentalist is that those who emit carbon dioxide should pay a price for that carbon – especially high emitters. Carbon pricing policy and practives, now more fully developed and operational under the Biden administration, is one of the most powerful tools for reducing emissions.

“Farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners are part of the solution to climate change, and they need trusted information to navigate emerging carbon market options,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This new program, the Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Program, will provide resources for producers and landowners, helping them pursue opportunities to generate revenue while benefiting the environment. It also builds on USDA’s comprehensive approach to create value and multiple income streams for all producers and communities, including through innovative, climate-smart agricultural practices.

Agoro Carbon, a third-party verifier,  partners with ranchers and farmers to capture value from the ag carbon market by implementing practice changes in their operations that allow for certified carbon credits. Miller will provide information on carbon credits and help producers understand what they should know before signing any contracts.

The event in Martin is hosted by South Dakota Farm Bureau (SDFB) and county Farm Bureaus in District 6 as part of its Summer Event Series. The series includes various activities that county members organize in Farm Bureau districts.

This series aims to provide farmers and ranchers throughout the state with educational opportunities and access to top experts and thought leaders. All events are open to the public.

For more information about carbon ranching and farming and to see which practices can work effectively, plan to attend the free presentation.

South Dakota Farm Bureau is divided into seven geographical districts. Each district is made up of counties in the respective area and is led by an elected district director who serves on the SDFB state Board of Directors. To view the counties in each district, view a map here. The event on June 18 is being held in District 6.


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