USDA Announces Grasslands Carbon Credits Sale

John DavisGovernment, Hay, livestock, USDA

usda-logoIn a first, Chevrolet has bought carbon credits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This USDA news release says the sale of nearly 40,000 carbon dioxide reduction tons are from working ranch grasslands in the Prairie Pothole region of North Dakota.

“This announcement is the first-of-its-kind. The amount of carbon dioxide removed from our atmosphere by Chevrolet’s purchase of carbon credits equals the amount that would be reduced by taking more than 5,000 cars off the road,” [Agriculture Secretary Tom] Vilsack said. “This public-private partnership demonstrates how much can be achieved with a modest federal investment and a strong commitment to cut carbon pollution.”

Robert Bonnie, USDA’s under secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, announced the purchase and USDA’s involvement in the project at an event today at USDA headquarters. He was joined by Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Greg Martin, executive director for global public policy, General Motors; Sean Penrith, executive director of The Climate Trust and Paul Schmidt, chief conservation officer of Ducks Unlimited.

Chevrolet’s first purchase of third-party verified carbon credits generated on working ranch grasslands was undertaken voluntarily as part of its commitment to reduce eight million tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted. This is comparable to the annual carbon reduction benefit of a mature forest the size of Yellowstone National Park.

Under the system, landowners put the land under a perpetual easement for which they receive compensation, but they are still allowed to work the land growing hay and raising livestock.