Carbon sequestration and carbon management policy effects on production agriculture in the Texas High Plains
Increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, especially of carbon dioxide, has led to attempts to implement carbon policies in order to limit and stabilize gases at acceptable levels. Agricultural activities can increase greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but they can also mitigate the increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and help prevent climate change by sequestering additional carbon. Although agriculture is currently not the target of carbon management policies, it is often seen as a potential market for sequestration credits and the agricultural industry needs to have more information about the values of sequestration management in case it becomes one of the targets of these policies. This study evaluated carbon emissions and carbon sequestration and examined the impacts of payments for sequestration and taxes on carbon emissions on cropping choices, profitability, and water consumption in the Texas High Plains. The results showed that reduction of total carbon emissions to 15% of a baseline and imposing a tax would reduce the amount of water consumed for irrigation, by about 20% and 16%, respectively. However, carbon payment for sequestration did not affect reduction of carbon emissions, water consumption nor the product mix.