CARBON CREDITS ARE A SCAM
The current carbon credit payments of $2-5/acre are not going to convert any farmers to continuous no-till crop production, which is generally required to qualify.
The conversion from tillage to continuous no-till is a major transition which involves substantial changes in equipment, management and agronomics, as well as adjustments in attitudes for everyone involved in the farming operation.
Veteran no-tillers have chosen that practice for economic and environmental stewardship reasons, and not to receive a $2-5 payment from some far-away carbon emitter.
This program actually increases the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, because the emitters buy carbon credits instead of spending that money on equipment or procedures that would actually reduce their CO2 emissions.
The primary beneficiaries of this program appear to be the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) and the aggregators, who receive nearly as much as farmers to administer the program. It's sort of a pyramid scheme in that a lot of farmers receive a little money per-acre to do what they would do anyway.
Then the aggregators consolidate these acres, which provides them with a significant annual payment. The CCX is at the top of the pyramid and receives significant payments for every acre involved, plus additional payments from the emitters for signing up.
The net result is a lot of companies pay a lot of money for credits to avoid spending money to actually reduce their CO2 emissions. The CCX and the aggregators make a handsome profit for administering the program and the no-till farmers get a little trickle-down money as a bonus for what they would do anyway.
This carbon credit program is a scam on the environment and the general public. It is most likely increasing the CO2 in the atmosphere while the public has been led to believe it's reducing it. Besides that, the general public is unwittingly underwriting the cost of the program because most emitters just pass the cost down to the consumers of their products.
USDA'S REPORTING SYSTEM FLAWS
I am wondering if USDA's reporting service has ever been discussed in your magazine?
This year USDA has forecast record corn, wheat and soybean yields and the prices for these grains have crashed on the CBOT and in the local markets.
I have farmed for 37 years and I understand that grain markets go up and down, but the problem I have with these USDA reports is that they are not based on actual numbers, but rather estimates.
The FSA branch of the USDA has the certified planted acres on its computer system, and the day after certification ends they would have a total on the planted acres.
My question is this: Why doesn't the USDA use these actual numbers until after harvest is over?
I would never want to be forced to sell my grain on an estimate. I want to get paid the true weight I have on my truck as it goes across the scale. But farmers are supposed to accept a market price based off these USDA reports that are nothing more than fake numbers pulled out of the air.
Since June 30 when USDA released its first really questionable planted acres and projected yields reports, the price of corn has dropped $1.45/bu. If you multiply that times the USDA's projected bushels and the 2008 corn carryover, that is a loss of income to the American farmer of over $21 billion.
It is very important that these reports are accurate because the traders use them to set the prices of grain and livestock.
I know the USDA will have a list of excuses a mile long about why they use the methodology they do, but changes are necessary.
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