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2013-321 Policy Development Carbon Sequestration

Researcher: Ken Belcher and Shawn Ingram

Funded: $41,630

Number of years: 2


1) Note voluntary conservation programs and their effectiveness/willinngess for producers to opt-in.
2) compare cost share programs, extension programs, or conservation easements.


In this study, 30 ranchers were interviewed. Most understood public and private benefits, and wanted to increase services on their land - 93% of producers noted that they would consider changes to their management practices if it would increase ecosystem services. The producers then ranked water quality as important, followed by wildlife and habitat, then much fewer with carbon sequestration. There were several areas which could make producers more likely to participate, and several others that would make them less likely to participate. 

To increase producer participation in conservation opportunities, cost share programs were most attractive, with 38.3% to 61.8% covered. Extension programs were also valuable, because they give more infomation about changing management practices. However, easements were last option (4%). 
The producers also suggested methods that would make them interested in participating, including a market-based carbon credit-trading program, tax relief for providing ecosystem services, “results-based” programs that trigger incentives for providing measurable ecosystem services, and an expansion or continuation of previously offered cost-share programs. 

The interviews indicated that private costs of conservation was primary barrier to increased conservation efforts, in the form of higher management costs or lost production.

While there was interest in these programs, long term programs were less likely to hold interest compared to shorter contracts, which would likely lead to more participation. Increasing levels of administration or paperwork would also likely dissuade producers from participating in programs.

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